Before Time IIby Gail Mabo
Before Time is one mono print from a collection of works on paper that I completed in early 2014. The series was based on my impressions of the land and the meaning of land and sea for Indigenous people. I wove traditional information into this work, such as that for thousands of years; the country around Townsville had been a healing place for Aboriginal people.
This recent series of works on paper are narratives of the land and sea, the animals, plants and people from the region, as well as offering stories from the artists’ traditional countries in other parts of mainland Queensland and the Torres Strait Islands.
Before Time tells a different story of the land, the air and sea. This story begins before the existence of time, when the land was new. This print illustrates my impression of the land before man, women and children, before plants and animals walked upon the earth. A time when Spirit embraced and encompassed all things. This is still our way; as it was during the time before time.
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About the artist
Language Group: Piadram
Country: Mer (Murray Island)
Artistic Director, choreographer, visual artist, writer and actor Gail Mabo commenced her artistic career in 1979 with local Townsville Dance troupe ‘New Blood Dance Troupe’ which was founded by Shane and Bronwyn Williams. Gail was part of this 15 strong Indigenous contemporary dance troupe for 4 years; her involvement in this group encouraged her to pursue training through an accredited dance school, which she applied for and was accepted. In 1983 she enrolled into the National Aboriginal and Islander Dance Academy (NAISDA) formerly known as the Aboriginal and Islander Dance Theatre (AIDT) in Sydney.
Gail attended the Aboriginal and Islander Dance Theatre for four years which provided a foundation for traditional and contemporary movement, which established appropriate protocols and traditional dance techniques for both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural dance practices. During this time Gail also toured with the Dance Theatre throughout New South Wales as well as nationally and to the remote Indigenous communities within Australia.
Mabo is a highly sought after public speaker and has travelled the world representing the issues and cultural traditions of Indigenous people as well as sharing her personal stories and experiences as a Torres Strait Island woman.
Gail Mabo’s work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in Canapé Arts in Cairns, Fireworks Gallery in Brisbane, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Umbrella Studio Contemporary Art, the Telstra National Indigenous Art Awards 2013 and many galleries in regional Queensland. Her work is in private and public collections including, Townsville City Council, University of Western Sydney, the National Gallery of Australia, Queensland Health, Indigenous Business Australia, James Cook University, Hinchinbrook City Council and the State Library Queensland. Her work has been exhibited in the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair from 2010 – 2014. This year Mabo will complete a major public art commission for the James Cook University campus in Singapore.
Gail Mabo is the middle daughter of Eddy Koiki Mabo, eminent land rights activist and revered Murray Island elder who fought and won the historic battle to secure Native Title in the High Court.