If you are one of the 5 million international visitors who disembark at Brisbane’s airport, you will be greeted with the vivid painted hues of Australia’s landscape.
Karina Marlow

Queensland Government
18 Dec 2015 - 12:37 PM  UPDATED 18 Dec 2015 - 1:37 PM

The artwork of the late Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori has been displayed in a 750-metre installation at the Brisbane International Airport arrivals concourse as part of its $45 million redevelopment.

The artwork depicts the artist's stories of the tropical seascape, salt pans, mangrove swamps and reefs of Gulf country in lush vibrant colours.

Ms Gabori, one of Australia's most prolific contemporary Indigenous artists, had never even held a paintbrush until she began art classes at the Mornington Island Arts and Crafts Centre, in her 80s.

While the works may seem to be abstracts to some, Beverly Knight the executive director of Alcaston Gallery, described the precious moment when the gallery’s staff had their ideas turned on their heads.

"When her grandchildren, and there was three of them, came down and came into the gallery, they ran around so excited," she said. "They knew every spot on the painting, they called it by something."

"So all of a sudden the staff at Alcaston Gallery thought “Oh my goodness, these are landscapes and seascapes. This is her country".

A senior Kaiadilt artist, Ms Gabori was born on Bentinck Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria and prior to the arrival of missionaries lived a traditional lifestyle, acquiring the cultural knowledge of her people.  

Ms Gabori's works have been exhibited internationally in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, Korea and the Netherlands.

She was also selected for the Australia exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London which surveyed Australian art over the last 200 years.

Though Ms Gabori sadly passed away in early 2015, a retrospective of her work will be on display from May 2016 at the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art