Vale: Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori


QAGOMA is saddened by news of the passing of Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori.

On behalf of the family and Mornington Island Community, MiArt released the following statement:

Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda (Mrs Gabori) b.c.1924 to 11 February 2015, who was and is, a respected traditional Kaiadilt elder died peacefully surrounded by family and friends this morning. She is a well loved and respected member of the community who will be remembered and sorely missed.

From 2005, at the age of 81, she turned the art world upside down with her vibrant, energetic and contemporary paintings of Kaiadilt Dulka (Country). Her paintings have been collected by leading galleries and collectors nationally and internationally and her legacy will live on.

One of Australia’s most extraordinary practitioners, Mrs Gabori, the senior Kaiadilt woman artist from Bentinck Island in Queensland’s Gulf of Carpentaria, was incredibly prolific over her short career. Her indefatigable zeal to communicate her stories, knowledge, and experiences accumulated over an incredible life — spanning over 90 years from traditional life to the coming of the Australian frontier to contemporary globalised Australia — won her great admiration and has left an astonishing cultural legacy.

QAGOMA Director Chris Saines, CNZM, said the Gallery feels privileged to have had the opportunity to work with Mrs Gabori throughout her career.

Sally Gabori ‘Dibirdibi Country’ 2008

Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, Kaiadilt people, Australia 1924-2015 / Dibirdibi Country 2008 / Synthetic polymer paint on linen / 200 x 600cm / Purchased 2008 with funds from Margaret Mittelheuser AM and Cathryn Mittelheuser AM through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda/Licensed by Copyright Agency

Sally Gabori

Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori was born around 1924 on the south side of Bentinck Island, of the South Wellesley Island Group in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland. Her Kaiadilt language name, Mirdidingkingathi, means ‘born at Mirdidingki’, her country on Bentinck Island, and Juwarnda means ‘dolphin’, her totem.

Living the early years of her life traditionally on her country, Sally Gabori was in her mid-20s when her entire Kaiadilt family were driven from their ancestral lands by natural disasters, forcing them to relocate to the Methodist mission on Mornington Island in Lardil country. Sally Gabori was a bride of war, taken by her husband Pat Gabori after killing her brother, the Kaiadilt leader King Alfred. She grew to love her husband and many of her paintings celebrate Dibirdibi Country, Pat’s country that they shared responsibility for and cared for before leaving their island home.

Sally Gabori began painting in 2005 at Mornington Island Art after circumstances left her unable to return to Bentinck Island for the dry season. Her immediate love of paint — the full spectrum of colour available to her — triggered an outpouring of ideas and emotion as she begun transcribing abstract mind maps that overlaid her country, the ancestral stories from those places, and the people she knew, loved and shared her country with in an extraordinary idiosyncratic painterly style.

The universal themes of Sally Gabori’s paintings of love, loss, longing, passion and pride transcended cultural and linguistic boundaries and allowed the senior Kaiadilt woman from remote northern Australia communicate with, and deeply touch, so many from around the world.

Sally Gabori’s tenacity ensured that the stories of her home, her people and her life will endure, living on for generations through paintings as vivacious as her life.

Sally Gabori ‘Dibirdibi Country’ 2012

Sally Gabori Dibirdibi Country
Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, Kaiadilt people, Australia b.c.1924 / Dibirdibi Country 2012 / Synthetic polymer paint on linen / Four panels: 121 x 121cm (each); 121 x 484cm (installed) / Purchased with funds from Margaret Mittelheuser, AM, and Cathryn Mittelheuser, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda/Copyright Agency


New Zealand artist’s new works promise to surprise at GOMA

Michael Parekowhai / New Zealand (1968-) / He Kōrero Pūrākau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu: story of a New Zealand river 2011 / Wood, ivory, brass, lacquer, steel, ebony, paua shell, resin, mother of pearl, automotive paint / Purchased 2011, with the assistance of the Friends of Te Papa / Collection: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa / Photography: Michael Hall / Image courtesy the artist and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

A two-storey family home containing a large polished stainless steel sculpture of a prominent historical figure and a super-sized wall built of scaled-up coloured Cuisenaire rods are among the new works to be unveiled in the first major solo exhibition of renowned New Zealand contemporary artist, Michael Parekowhai.

‘Michael Parekowhai: The Promised Land’, which spans two decades of Parekowhai’s artistic practice, will be on display at GOMA from 28 March to 21 June 2015.

QAGOMA Director Chris Saines said ‘The Promised Land’ would transform spaces in GOMA into an immersive environment filled with sculptures and photographs spanning the breadth of Michael Parekowhai’s expansive practice.

‘In addition to the extraordinary new works such as the dividing wall made of Cuisenaire rods –the brightly coloured teaching aids that have appeared regularly in the artist’s work, ‘The Promised Land’ will also feature important loans and a selection from the Gallery’s Collection, the largest holdings of Parekowhai’s work outside New Zealand.’

Collection works include The Horn of Africa 2006, a glossy black sculpture of a fur seal balancing a grand piano on its nose, and photographs of elaborate flower arrangements from The Consolation of Philosophy series, each named for a different European battlefield where soldiers from the Māori Pioneer Battalion fought and died in World War I.

Exhibition curator, Maud Page, QAGOMA Deputy Director, Collection and Exhibitions, said the Gallery has had a longstanding relationship with Parekowhai, who explores the creation and consumption of contemporary culture and plays with perceptions of history, space and scale in his artistic practice.

‘Michael has been represented in the Gallery’s Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT) in 1999 and 2006, in ‘Unnerved: The New Zealand Project’ in 2010, and his public art work The World Turns 2011–12, a life-sized bronze sculpture of an elephant and local kuril (water rat) is next to the river outside GOMA.

‘Parekowhai’s work uses humour to explore the intersections between national narratives, colonial histories and popular culture. He is renowned for bringing together multiple layers of meaning in a single object, with in-jokes and snippets of autobiography sitting side-by-side with cultural critique and art historical playfulness.’

On loan to the exhibition from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Parekowhai’s He Kōrero Pūrākau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu: story of a New Zealand river 2011, is an elaborately carved, fully functional, red Steinway concert grand piano.

‘Ten years in the making, the work was the centrepiece to the artist’s 2011 Venice Biennale installation, and will be played by invited performers throughout the exhibition – an act which Parekowhai sees as completing the work.’

Michael Parekowhai is Professor in Fine Arts at the University of Auckland. His exhibition history spans almost two decades, showing regularly in New Zealand and internationally in major exhibitions including the Venice Biennale (2011), ‘Biennale of Sydney’ (2002); ‘Gwangju Biennale’ (2004) as well as the ‘Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (1999 and 2006).

The Gallery will produce the first substantial publication devoted to Parekowhai’s practice to accompany the exhibition.

QAGOMA honours Richard W.L. Austin AO, OBE

QAGOMA Director Chris Saines CNZM, Philanthropy Manager Dominique Jones, Arija Austin and Chair of the Board of Trustees Professor Susan Street AO

Last month, the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) awarded former Chair of the Gallery’s Board of Trustees Richard (Dick) Austin AO, OBE (1919–2000) with the inaugural QAGOMA Gallery Medal. The medal recognises Austin’s incredible vision, energy and leadership that even now continue to guide the Gallery towards Asia and the Pacific as a key Collection and exhibition focus.

Chair of the Gallery’s Board of Trustees, Professor Susan Street AO and QAGOMA Director Chris Saines CNZM presented Austin’s wife, Mrs Arija Austin, with the Gallery Medal in an intimate ceremony at Mrs Austin’s home. The gold medal, designed by acclaimed Queensland jeweller Barbara Heath, carries the iconic breezeway lattice pattern borne by many Queensland homes complemented by a cascade of silver ‘water’ droplets. Like rain, which nourishes and cultivates, the design alludes to the precious and transformative gift of dedicated service made by the awardee to both the Gallery and Queensland’s cultural landscape as a whole.



As the Gallery gears up for its flagship event, the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT8), next year, it is undeniably important to recognise the contributions of individuals that have been pivotal to our ongoing success. For turning our gaze towards Asia, without a doubt, there can be no more deserving recipient of the QAGOMA Gallery Medal than Dick Austin.

QAGOMA Gallery Medal recipient Richard WL Austin AO, OBE (1919–2000)

David Lynch to make first Australian public appearance

David Lynch / Photograph: Just Loomis

Just Announced! David Lynch is live in conversation in Brisbane on Saturday 14 March 2015. Tickets go on sale to the general public Thursday 18 December 2014 at 9.00am AEST, check our website for details. QAGOMA in association with QPAC presents ‘David Lynch: In Conversation’, in this exclusive to Brisbane event David Lynch will share insight into his life, his work and his many passions – painting, film, music and meditation.

David Lynch: Between Two Worlds‘ opens at GOMA on 14 March 2015. Developed closely with the artist, the exhibition features more than 200 works and is organised around three ideas – ‘Man and machine’, ‘The extra-ordinary’, and ‘Psychic Aches’. The uniqueness of QAGOMA as an art gallery with its purpose-built Australian Cinémathèque allows the exhibition to move between the gallery and cinema environment, offering audiences two distinct exhibition spaces and the opportunity to view a complete retrospective of Lynch’s film, video and works for television as part of the exhibition.

Principal Partner: Tourism and Events Queensland | Airline Partner: Virgin Australia

The world comes to QAGOMA



Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and United States’ President Barack Obama at the G20 Summit Leaders’ reception at GOMA / Photograph: Rob Maccoll/G20 Australia
Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott with United States President Barack Obama at the G20 Leaders’ Summit Reception at GOMA / Photograph: Rob Maccoll/G20 Australia
The G20 Leaders’ Summit Reception at GOMA / Photograph: Rob Maccoll/G20 Australia

Last Saturday evening, in the midst of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Brisbane and sweltering November temperatures, the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art  was honoured to host the world leaders, their spouses and their entourages, as well as many other distinguished guests at functions across both QAG and GOMA. In addition to mounting displays from the QAGOMA Collection, the Gallery catered the full suite of events in the most elaborate set of simultaneous functions ever mounted across the two buildings.

GOMA’s sweeping level 3 galleries were host to a cocktail reception for 350 guests amidst a specially selected group of contemporary works depicting the country’s varied and great landscapes. With their visions of a vast and changing Australia – painted on majestic canvases or car bonnets, using aerial viewpoints or richly textured close-ups – these works by Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists expressed the country’s sublime interior and shorelines to guests from across the globe.

Australia’s Treasurer Joe Hockey greets his dinner guests at the G20 Finance Ministers’ Dinner at GOMA / Photograph: Dominika Lis/G20 Australia
Australia’s Treasurer Joe Hockey’s hosts a dinner at the G20 Finance Ministers’ Dinner at GOMA / Photograph: Dominika Lis/G20 Australia

The large group broke off into several smaller functions. At GOMA, a dinner for the attending spouses of the leaders overlooked the Brisbane River, while a sitting for 160, hosted by Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey, filled the Long Gallery in the resource lounge for the current exhibition ‘Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion’.

G20 Leaders' Dinner
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo chat at the start of a G20 Leaders’ Working Dinner hosted by Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott at QAG / Photograph: Andrew Taylor/G20 Australia

The main act was at QAG, where the Watermall was taken over by a large stage which hosted all of the 34 world leaders who attended the G20. The Gallery installed three majestic paintings by senior Queensland artist Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda (Sally Gabori) for the event – panoramic and electric depictions of her Bentinck Island country.

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu at the G20 Leaders’ Working Dinner at QAG / Photograph: Simon Wright

The proceedings were punctuated by performances from Australian soprano Emma Matthews, acclaimed singer-songwriter-musician Megan Washington, Julliard-trained Paul Grabowsky and the compelling voice of Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu.

G20 Leaders' Dinner
Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks to United States’ President Barack Obama at a dinner for the G20 Leaders’ Working Dinner at QAG / Photograph:Andrew Taylor/G20 Australia

This working dinner was fuelled by an entrée of Hervey Bay scallop, organic Lockyer Valley cauliflower and Mooloolaba squid broth, followed by a Kenilworth VIP Wagyu fillet with Kalbar carrot textures, organic black garlic and a Symphony Hill Shiraz jus. Dinner at all events was rounded out with the Gallery’s signature Wattle seed custard, Daintree chocolate and vanilla curd.

Across both, the Gallery’s food and events team, including 70 front-of-house and 30 chefs delivered astonishing results on the plates for the leaders and their support staff, not to mention another thousand meals for G20 support staff over the weekend.

The mammoth feat of coordination and discretion was the culmination of 16 months of planning that took in almost every section of QAGOMA’s staff at one time or another.  The contributions from Food and Beverage Services & Events, Protection and Services, Facilities Management, Design, Workshop, Installation and Curatorial teams made for a flawless outcome on the night, with equally valuable and responsive support from the Gallery’s Registration, Information Management, Governance and Media teams – in other words, this was a huge team effort that connected the entire Gallery staff.

The G20 Leaders’ Working Dinner at QAG / Photograph: Simon Wright

Of course, it was more than just the work of the Gallery’s team. The event was staged under the direction of, and in close consultation, with the G20 Taskforce and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and featured entertainment coordinated by outgoing Brisbane Festival director Noel Staunton and wines matched by James Halliday.

The response from our global guests to the Gallery buildings, the artwork and the food and service was overwhelming, and QAGOMA is grateful for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host an event of this calibre.

For one night only on 3 December, the GOMA Restaurant is offering the chance to dine like a world leader, with the same set menu and matched wines served to the Presidents, Prime Ministers and Chancellors of G20.

David Lynch exclusive for Brisbane


In an Australian first, an exhibition of the art and cinema of David Lynch will be presented at GOMA from 14 March 2015. ‘David Lynch: Between Two Worlds’ is an exclusive to Brisbane 50-year retrospective that considers the artist’s practice across all media. The Gallery was working directly with the renowned American artist, best known as a filmmaker.

David Lynch in Los Angeles, August 2014 / Photograph: Just Loomis

Related: David Lynch in Brisbane

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David Lynch first trained as a painter and has maintained a studio practice that reflects a fascination with industry and organic phenomena, subconscious drives and a desire to look beneath the surface, concerns that also permeate his cinema.

In addition to rarely seen paintings and drawings from the mid 1960s, the exhibition includes lithographs, an important presentation of Lynch’s photographs of factories and nudes, recent large-scale paintings, and a complete retrospective of his film, video and television work.

Details of exclusive events, including an artist in-conversation, public programs and special musical performances, as well as celebrations of the anniversary of television series Twin Peaks 1990–91, will be announced shortly.

David Lynch: Between Two Worlds‘ explores three ideas that connect the artist’s practice across art, cinema and music — ‘Man and machine’, ‘The extra-ordinary’, and ‘Psychic aches’ — ideas that open us up to the possibility of finding a deeper reality in our experience of the everyday. The exhibition draws on all areas of Lynch’s working career to present a thorough and compelling account of his singular vision.

A specially-curated program of Lynch’s short and feature films, works for television, documentaries and independent projects produced for online platforms are included in the exhibition and will screen at the Australian Cinémathèque, GOMA.

Alongside his filmmaking career, Lynch has worked as a visual artist for 50 years, producing an extensive body of paintings, photography and works on paper that are integral to his overall creative vision.

The QAGOMA exhibition is the largest retrospective of Lynch’s practice to date, following his first American museum exhibition ‘David Lynch: The Unified Field’ at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (2014–15), and European exhibitions ‘Dark Splendor: Space, Images, Sound’ at the Max Ernst Museum, Brühl, Germany (2010) and ‘The Air is on Fire: 40 Years of Paintings, Photographs, Drawings, Experimental Films and Sound Creations’ at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris (2007).

In the mid 1960s, David Lynch trained as a painter at the Corcoran School of Art, Washington, and the Boston Museum School, before studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, where he developed an interest in cinema with Six Men Getting Sick 1967 – a work that uses sculpture and animation to create a ‘moving painting’.

In 1970, Lynch relocated to Los Angeles where he studied filmmaking at the American Film Institute Conservatory and developed his debut feature Eraserhead 1977. Since then, Lynch has developed a singular cinematic style with groundbreaking films including The Elephant Man 1980, Blue Velvet 1986, Wild at Heart 1990, Lost Highway 1997, Mulholland Drive 2001 and Inland Empire 2006.

David Lynch / Head #3 (from the ‘Small Stories’ series) 2013 / Gelatin silver print on Baryta paper, 81.5 x 90cm / Courtesy: The artist and Item éditions, Paris / © David Lynch

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