Cartier Foundation dedicates show to Australian artist Sally Gabori

First exhibition by the Aboriginal artist outside Australia is presented by the Cartier Foundation, in Paris

Makarki - King Alfred’s Country, 2008 (acima) e Sweers Islands, 2008 (abaixo), Sally Gabori.
Makarki – King Alfred's Country, 2008 (above) and Sweers Islands, 2008 (below), Sally Gabori.

Sally Gabori is one of the biggest names in Australian contemporary art and has a very unusual and inspiring artistic trajectory. Born Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, around 1924, the artist belonged to the Kaiadilt people, one of the last Australian aboriginal peoples to come into contact with European colonizers and who lived isolated on a small island called Bentinck.

In the early 1940s, Presbyterian missionaries, installed since 1914 on the neighboring island of Mornington, began to make successive attempts at colonization with the Kaiadilt, but without any success. In 1948, however, after a cyclone and a tsunami flooded the lands of the Gabori people, the last 63 representatives of the Kaiadilt people were evacuated to the Presbyterian mission. What they thought would be a quick exile became a final departure as, upon arrival at the mission, the children were separated from the adults and forbidden to speak their mother tongue, severing ties with their culture and tradition and ultimately exterminating , any possibility of continuity of the people. 

Thundi, 2008, Sally Gabori.

Many years later, in mid-2005, Sally Gabori discovers the painting for the first time when visiting the Mornington art centre, which is, for her, a true revelation. The new artist then begins to paint frantically, sometimes producing more than one canvas a day, thus building her own pictorial tradition, completely disconnected from any other artistic current. And it is precisely the fact that she has no previous contact with any iconographic tradition that makes her work so powerful and original. 

In the works on display on two floors of the Cartier Foundation in Paris, we see in Gabori's canvases the representation – and a true celebration, of specific places on her home island and the people of her family. In just nine years of artistic production, Gabori paints more than 2000 canvases with a unique combination of colors, shape games and overlapping surfaces. On the first floor of the exhibition are canvases connected to Thundi, a place on his home island, as well as works made in collaboration with other kaadilt artists. Already in the basement are the screens connected to the places Dibirdibi and Nyinyilki. 

Thundi, 2012.

Showing more than 30 works by Gabori, the exhibition on display at the Cartier Foundation was built in collaboration with the artist's family, alongside the Kayadilt people and supported by the knowledge of specialists about the people. With yet another exhibition, the Cartier Foundation emphasizes an ever-increasing quest to give a prominent place to the artistic production of native peoples from different parts of the world, including already done with indigenous Yanomami in Brazil. 


Sally Gabori 

Location: Cartier Foundation

Address: 261 Bd Raspail, Paris, France 

Date: Until November 6, 2022

Opening hours: From Tuesday to Sunday, from 11 am to 8 pm. 

Admission: 14 – 7 euros.

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