Important Australian Indigenous Art
22 March 2023


(c.1924 - 2015)

synthetic polymer paint on linen 

197.5 x 101.5 cm

bears inscription verso: artist’s name, title, medium and Mornington Island Arts and Crafts 
cat. 3154-2-L-SG-0508 and Alcaston Gallery cat. AK14494B

$18,000 – $25,000
Sold for $39,273 (inc. BP) in Auction 73 - 22 March 2023, Melbourne

Mornington Island Arts and Crafts, Mornington Island, Queensland (stamped verso)
Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne
Private collection, Canberra, acquired from the above in 2008 

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Alcaston Gallery which states:

"My painting shows my big brother King Alfred's country. This is where he was born near a big river." 

Catalogue text

In 1948, following a series of natural disasters, Sally Gabori along with the other inhabitants of Bentinck Island were forced to relocate to Gununa on nearby Mornington Island. Gabori had spent the first few decades of her long life on Bentinck Island, the island of her birth, living off the natural resources of the surrounding ocean and estuaries in the traditions of the Kaiadilt. Although Gabori resided on Mornington Island for the remainder of her long life, her connection to Bentinck Island life and culture was innate, and her success as an artist enabled her to return to country through her paintings. Makarrki, 2008 is a gestural and expressive tribute to the landscape and history of this country to the north of Bentinck Island. 

Utilising a limited but bold palette of flat planes and solid colours, Sally Gabori records her memories of Makarrki, country that belonged to her brother King Alfred. A leader and warrior who was a rival of her husband Pat Gabori, and whose relationship with Gabori created intense friction within Kaiadilt society eventually resulting in her brother’s death. Makarrki is characterised by a large river and estuary of the same name that runs through the north of the Island with abundant sea-life including dugongs and turtles.1

1. McLean, B., ‘Dulka Warngiid; The Whole World’ in Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori Dulka Warngiid; Land of All, Queensland Art Gallery I Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2016 p. 24