Legacy Reflections on Mabo

Free exhibition
28 May 2022 - 9 October 2022
Philip Bacon Heritage Gallery, level 4
#slqMaboLegacy

Legacy: Reflections on Mabo celebrates the man behind the game-changing Native Title Act, Eddie Koiki Mabo, and the ongoing influence and impact he has had on Australian society and culture. 

Curated by Gail Mabo, Dr Jonathan McBurnie and Kellie Williams, this travelling exhibition brings together 25 Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists in the spirit of reconciliation, 30 years after this historic achievement. Each artist has responded to an aspect of Mabo they were drawn to, whether it was his life, politics, activism or legacy. The artworks come together in surprising ways, with reverence, compassion, anger, sadness and respect, celebrating a man who was both a rebel and a dreamer.

Events

Portrait of Gail Mabo
TICKETED

Legacy: Reflections on Mabo artist panel discussion

Wed 24 Aug · 6–7:15pm
In celebration of Legacy: Reflections on Mabo exhibition, we invite you to join us for a conversation that celebrates the man behind the game-changing Native Title Act, Eddie Koiki Mabo, and the ongoing influence and impact he has had on Australian society and culture.  This travelling exhibition brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists in the spirit of reconciliation, 30 years after this historic achievement. In this discussion learn about the curatorial directions from Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts director, Kate O'Hara. The panel will include reflections from exhibition co-curator and daughter of Koiki Mabo, Gail Mabo and Brisbane contributing artists Judy Watson and Katina Davidson. This free event will also be livestreamed from State Library of Queensland. Register to join us onsite or online and be part of this exciting event.   Facilitator Kate O’Hara is the Director of Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts, an independent platform for contemporary and experimental arts practice operating on Wulgurukaba and Bindal Country (Townsville, North Queensland).  Kate has over 15 years in industry experience as a curator and arts manager in institutional, not-for-profit, commercial and independent arts environments.   Prior to working at Umbrella, Kate managed Maningrida Art & Culture, a large and prestigious Indigenous art centre in Arnhem land. Previous to this Kate worked with a number of arts organisations in South East Asia, including Romeet Contemporary Art Space in Phnom Penh, Cambodia as their inaugural Curator and Manager.  She has a proven track record in growing arts organisations in the not-for-profit sector as well as improving returns to artists and growing recognition for artistic movements. Speakers Gail Mabo is a multidisciplinary artist working across sculpture, installation, printmaking and painting.  Most recently Mabo has been experimenting with cast bronze, empowered by her 2021 residency at Urban Art Projects.  Her work often connects Torres Strait Islander Knowledge and political histories including that of her own family to manifest contemporary advocacy.  Storytelling and sharing Culture are important to her work. In 2018 she co-curated the exhibition, Legacy: Reflections on Mabo. This exhibition premiered in Townsville her hometown and is on a four-year Australian tour. Her most recent exhibition, House of Cards, Mabo mined her personal and emotional archive to speak to the socio-political climate of three generations of powerful Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.  This immersive installation premiered at Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts in Townsville in 2021 and will tour to newly opened Rockhampton Museum of Art later this year. In recent years she has been commissioned to create major new works for Tarnanthi and AGNSW.  Both commissions were subsequently collected.  Her work is also held in Art Gallery of New South Wales,  Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, National Gallery Australia and Artbank among other collections of national significance. Judy Watson was born in Mundubbera, Queensland. Judy Watson’s Aboriginal matrilineal family is from Waanyi country in north-west Queensland. The artist’s process evolves by working from site and memory, revealing Indigenous histories, following lines of emotional and physical topography that centre on particular places and moments in time. Spanning painting, printmaking, drawing, sculpture and video, her practice often draws on archival documents and materials, such as maps, letters and police reports, to unveil institutionalised discrimination against Aboriginal people. Her work is included in several significant Australian and international collections, including all of Australia’s state institutions, the National Gallery of Australia, the Tokyo National University of Technology, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, the British Museum, and MCA/ TATE. Watson is an Adjunct Professor at Griffith University, and in 2018, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Art History by the University of Queensland. Katina Davidson (Kullilli/Yuggera) is an artist, writer, and Curator of Indigenous Australian Art, at Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane. Her creative practice aims to draw attention to little known local histories, especially in relation to her Indigenous communities and family. She has been part of group exhibitions 'Legacy: Reflections on Mabo', curated by Gail Mabo and the Umbrella Studios, Townsville, 2019; 'Maiwar' Vibrant Laneways exhibition, curated by Blaklash Collective for Brisbane City Council, 2018; 'Gathering Stands', curated by Freja Carmichael at Redland Art Gallery, 2016; and participated in the South Stradbroke Island Indigenous Art Camp, run by the City of Gold Coast in 2014, where she returned in 2021 as the writer in residence for its new location in the Gold Coast hinterland. Legacy: Reflections on Mabo is a travelling exhibition presented by Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts and toured by Museums & Galleries Queensland.
Group of people looking at artworks in exhibition
TICKETED

Legacy Curator’s Tour with Jonathan McBurnie

Sat 24 Sep · 10:30–11:15am
Join co-curator Jonathan McBurnie (Director of Rockhampton Museum of Art) for a curatorial tour of exhibition Legacy: Reflections on Mabo. Legacy: Reflections on Mabo exhibition celebrates the man behind the game-changing Native Title Act, Eddie Koiki Mabo, and the ongoing influence and impact he has had on Australian society and culture. Curated by Gail Mabo, Dr Jonathan McBurnie and Kellie Williams, this travelling exhibition brings together 24 Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists in the spirit of reconciliation, after this historic achievement. Jonathan McBurnie is an artist and writer based in Rockhampton, where he is the Director of the Rockhampton Museum of Art, which is situated on Darumbal country. McBurnie is a former Director of Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts, where he developed and co-curated the Legacy: Reflections on Mabo touring exhibition. Tours are free and space is limited. Book now to reserve your place.

Artists

Legacy: Reflections on Mabo features artwork by: Sonja Carmichael and Elisa Jane Carmichael, Toby Cedar, Dian Darmansjah, Katina Davidson, Blak Douglas and Adam Geczy, Hayley Megan French, Marion Gaemers, Patricia Hoffie, David Jones, Ian Kaddy, Talitha Kennedy, Jo Lankester, Veronica Lulu and Kim Mahood, Ronald McBurnie, Arone Meeks, Jim Paterson, Tommy Pau, Obery Sambo, Anneke Silver, Ken Thaiday Snr, and Judy Watson.

MABO: 30 YEARS ON

State Library of Queensland invited members of the Torres Strait Islander community to acknowledge the remarkable life, politics, activism, and legacy of Eddie “Koiki” Mabo and celebrate the Legacy: Reflections on Mabo exhibition.

Official Event Program included; Welcome to Country by Nunukul Yuggera Aboriginal Dance Company/Gerib Sik Torres Strait Islanders Dance Troupe/Daniel Dow – Master of Ceremony/Vicki McDonald AM FALIA, State Librarian & CEO/The Honourable Leeanne Enoch, Minister for Communities and Housing, Minister for Digital Economy and Minister for the Arts/Gail Mabo

Filmed onsite at State Library of Queensland on 28 May 2022

Learn

Legacy: Reflections on Mabo education kit

Library Shop

Legacy Reflections on Mabo

Legacy: Reflections on Mabo
Mabo

Somebodys Land Welcome to Our Country

Somebody's Land: Welcome to Our Country
Adam Goodes

Pet Bandana Teddy Gibson

Pet Bandana Teddy Gibson
Alperstein Designs

The Coloured Echidna

The Coloured Echidna
Eunice Day

From the blog

Mabo vs State of Queensland

1 June 2018
2018 marked the 26th anniversary since the High Court of Australia handed down its decision in the land rights case ‘Mabo versus the State of Queensland’. Announced on 3 June 1992, generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait people celebrate Mabo Day following a 10-year struggle for recognition. Justice Martin Moynihan and a team of Counsel travelled to Mer Island to conduct Supreme Court sittings and to take down testimony from witnesses to prove or disprove the Murray Islander Mabo case of native title in May 1989. This blog showcases images taken of these events that took place. Anne Scheu - Engagement Officer, State Library of Queensland

Miles and Mabo: teacher and master

24 January 2022
Bob Miles was teacher and mentor to a young Eddie Mabo who became a master of two cultures and who paved the way for recognition of the traditional rights of the Meriam People to their islands in the eastern Torres Strait in 1992, and from which followed the Native Title Act, 1993.

25th anniversary of the Mabo decision

2 June 2017
The date 3 June 1992 is forever remembered as a victory for Indigenous land rights with the High Court of Australia’s landmark decision in the case Mabo v Queensland (No 2) – more commonly known as simply Mabo. Mabo marked the first formal recognition of Indigenous land rights in Australia. The High Court overturned the legal doctrine of terra nullius (‘land belonging to nothing, no one’) which implied that no-one held ownership of the land until the arrival of European settlers. Taken from OM95-26 Mabo Cutting Books 1990-1994 . State Library of Queensland Front cover of OM95-26 Mabo Cutting Books 1990-1994 . State Library of QueenslandOne of the main agitators for Indigenous land rights was Torres Strait Islander and land rights activist Eddie Koiki Mabo. In 1982 Eddie Mabo and four other Meriam people from Mer in the Torres Strait began legal action in the High Court of Australia. Sadly Eddie Mabo died five months before the High Court’s decision after 10 years of struggle.State Library of Queensland holds several items relating to the Mabo decision.  OM95-26 Mabo Cutting Books - these books contain newspaper clippings relating to the Mabo case between November 1990 and October 1994 29122 Album of Photographs Relating to the Mabo Case on Mer Island 1989 - a photographic account of the proceedings of the Mabo case on Mer (Murray Island) 6837 Justice Moynihan - Determination re Mabo Case Papers 27 Feb 1986 - three bound volumes regarding the determination of a reference from the High Court of Australia of the factual issues raised in the action by Eddie Mabo and others, prepared by Justice Moynihan. Taken from OM95-26 Mabo Cutting Books 1990-1994 . State Library of QueenslandMabo is celebrated each year as part of National Reconciliation Week. 

Acknowledgements

Legacy: Reflections on Mabo received funding through the Queensland Government’s Queensland Art Showcase Program’s Arts Ignite stream to support the development and presentation of the exhibition at Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts in 2019. 

Legacy: Reflections on Mabo is a travelling exhibition presented by Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts and toured by Museums & Galleries Queensland. It has been generously assisted by the Australian Government’s Visions of Australia Program; the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments; and is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.

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