From Mornington Island to the Mornington Peninsula

Two new exhibitions – the first of their kind to be held in Victoria – feature at Everywhen Artspace in April. One is the first group showing of brilliantly coloured paintings from Mornington Island Arts centre; the other a solo showing of contemporary jewellery in traditional form by Torres Strait Island contemporary jeweller Emily Beckley. 

The artistic history of Mornington Island, in the Gulf of Carpentaria, stretches back to the 1960s when brothers Dick and Lindsay Roughsey worked with missionaries to record their traditional stories in ochre, bark and carved artefacts. 

More recently, Mornington Island Arts was best known for the highly sought-after abstracts by the late Sally Gabori (c. 1924-2015). Now the art centre is undergoing a renaissance with a new group of artists, including Sally Gabori’s sisters Netta and Amy Loogatha, daughters Amanda Jane, Dorothy and Elsie Gabori and others. 

“Their work is fresh, dynamic, culturally rich and very exciting,” says Everywhen’s co-curator Susan McCulloch. 

Sally Gabori’s youngest daughter Amanda Jane Gabori, McCulloch believes is an especially talented artist. “There has never been a comprehensive group show of the work of this art centre in Victoria and it’s a fabulous opportunity to see and acquire really individual, high quality and different contemporary Aboriginal art and also foster an emerging art movement.” 

Torres Strait Island jeweller Emily Beckley, who will travel down for the exhibition has been working with the Indigenous Jewellery Project founded by Everywhen’s co-curator Emily McCulloch Childs since 2018. 

Beckley is a pioneering artist whose work explores many facets of her culture and traditions. She is the first Torres Strait Islander contemporary jeweller to recreate, in metals, the Haddon Pendants, a series of traditional bridal pendants made by her ancestors now held in the British Museum. 

In these works she says she aims to express the “softer, more romantic” side of Torres Strait Islander culture, whose contemporary art is famous more for its warrior depictions. 

The exhibition runs from April 12 to May 6. The celebratory opening event is on Easter Saturday April 20 at 2 pm with an in conversation with Emily Beckley and Emily McCulloch Childs. Susan McCulloch will present an illustrated talk on the art of Mornington Island on Sunday April 28 at 2pm. Both events are free but bookings essential. 

EVERYWHEN Artspace, 1/39 Cook Street, Flinders, 3929
Open daily 10.30am – 4pm
T: 0419 896473 | E:

Peninsula Essence – April 2019