Introducing Mornington Island Arts Centre to Yarn Gallery

Dorothy and Amanda Gabori collaborating on a painting in memory of their mother. Courtesy of Mirndiyan Gununa - Mornington Island, 2021.

We are so excited to announce the arrival of original paintings from the Mornington Island Art (MIArt) centre to Yarn Gallery! Mornington Island, also known as Kunhanhaa by the Lardil people, is located in the Gulf of Carpentaria in Queensland and is the largest of the 22 islands that form the Wellesley Islands group. Gununa, the only permanent community on the islands, is home to a small population of about 1,200 people. The artists living in this community are known for their vibrant use of colours and patterns to tell stories of ancestral songlines, dances and Lore.

The Lardil, Yangkal and Kaidildt peoples, the Traditional Owners of Mornington Island, have a strong history of visual arts and crafts and performing arts, going back more than 8,000 years. The visual artists of the region have been making artefacts and bark paintings using natural ochre paints since the 1950s. In the 1970s, the Lardil peoples started producing their first works for sale: acrylic paints on bark. Later, in the mid-80s, the Mornington Island Art and Craft (MIAAC) facility was established, and in 2002 it became part of Mirndiyan Gununa Aboriginal Corporation (MGAC). The MGAC is one of the longest-running art and cultural organisations in Australia, which is fully-owned and controlled by an Indigenous Board.

Old ladies painting together at the MIArt Studio. Courtesy of Mirndiyan Gununa - Mornington Island, 2021.

In 2004, the MGAC, previously known as Woomera Aboriginal Corporation, decided to work with the artists to create paintings directed towards the fine arts market. This was in order to help them develop their artistic skills, and in turn strengthen the financial viability of the art centre and community, as well as increasing the employment opportunities for the locals. As a result, the Aboriginal Corporation’s locally relevant art programs have helped produce internationally significant works. The most renowned artists from Mornington Island are Kaidildt artist Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda (Sally Gabori) and Lardil artist Goobalathaldin (Dick Roughsey), whose groundbreaking works underpin the bold, colourful, contemporary artistic styles of the MIArt Studios.

My Father's Country by Helena Gabori - Original Painting - 121.5 x 92cm. Courtesy of Yarn Gallery, 2021.

The stunning works coming out of the MIART studio are full of richness and vibrancy, and are painted by both established artists and new and emerging artists. Due to the sheer remoteness of the islands, the artists tend to concentrate on spiritual and cultural subject matter - all revolving around their connection to their land, lore and culture. The artists will often collaborate on works together to help keep their stories alive and to keep culture strong. Many of these works often depict the skies, rocks, birthplaces, Lardil Dreaming and Country through multi-colour acrylic paintings.

By purchasing artwork from Yarn Gallery, you are helping to support First Nations artists’ and their communities’ talent and livelihoods. You can browse the beautiful collection of Mornington Island’s artworks on Yarn Gallery here. Check out MIArt’s Instagram or their Facebook for more information about their talented artists and community. To find out more about Yarn Gallery, check out our previous blog here. For further inspiration, check out Yarn Gallery's Instagram here!  

For further enquiries about the acquisition of an artwork, simply call or email our Customer Service team and we can forward you to Yarn’s Art Consultant.