Sally Gabori’s Mirdidingki: My Country
Thursday 21 July 2016 Share FacebookDelicious Email

BLOG-MIRDIDINGKINGATHI(MrsGABORI)_MyCountry2010_MrAndMrsTimAndSusieWatson_002Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, Kaiadilt people. Australia c.1924–2015 / My Country 2010 / Synthetic polymer paint on linen / Private collection, Melbourne / © Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori 2010/ Licensed by Viscopy, 2016

‘This is where I was born on Bentinck Island next to the Mirdidingki River’
Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori

In Sally Gabori’s paintings places and people are inseparable, stemming from the Kaiadilt tradition of naming people through association with the place and totem one was born into. By adding the Kaiadilt suffix ~ngathi (meaning ‘born at’) to a person’s birthplace, a name is created. Sally Gabori, born by the small creek at Mirdidingki, started life as Mirdidingkingathi.

Sally painted six key places hundreds of times each, every painting different from the one before, sometimes markedly. Yet in each there are landscape cues to be found.

Sally’s ‘My Country’ paintings celebrate her birthplace, Mirdidingki, centred on a small creek that runs from inland Bentinck Island to a small bay on the southern coast, facing towards the massive rivers of the mainland Gulf coast. Sally was born here around 1924.

BLOG-MIRDIDINGKINGATHI(MrsGABORI)_MyCountry2010_MrPaulWalkerAndMsPatriciaMason_001Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, Kaiadilt people. Australia c.1924–2015 / My Country 2010 / Synthetic polymer paint on linen / Private collection, Melbourne / © Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori 2010/ Licensed by Viscopy, 2016

BLOG-MapMy Country 2010 alongside corresponding Google earth satellite image of Mirdidingki (rotated clockwise 158 degrees) / Satellite image courtesy: Google earth / Images © DigitalGlobe 2016

Mirdidingki Creek is tidal, connected to the ocean at high tide and separated by long sand flats at low tide. Inland, saltpans emerge, while at the creek’s edges mangroves create a heavily forested tidal estuary towards its mouth. Halfway along the creek, a small but striking island devoid of vegetation emerges from the mangroves – a piercing circle of white among the green trees. Nearer the creek’s mouth, a branch extends to the east along the back-beaches of the bay. The creek ends in a long sandy tidal flat that extends into the bay for hundreds of metres, then transforms into a vibrant network of connecting coral reefs teeming with turtles, fish and other sea life.

Sally’s paintings of Mirdidingki often include strong linear icons at their centre, referencing the creek there, while others depict either the tree she was born under, the places loved ones are buried, the sand flats where shell fish are collected, or the camp site and middens where shells amassed over millennia

Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori: Dulka Warngiid – Land of all
Until 28 August 2016 | QAG | Free
Buy the Publication 

Fluent: Aboriginal Women’s Paintings from the Collection
Until 28 August 2016 | QAG | Free

Line + Form: Paintings and Sculpture from the Indigenous Australian Collection
Until 13 November 2016 | GOMA | Free 

Indigenous Australian Collection: Everywhen, Everywhere
Permanent Collection | QAG | Free

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