Mabel Juli is renowned for her refined black and white depiction of Garnkiny doo Wardel (Moon and Star), an important Ngarranggarni (Dreaming) story that explores forbidden love, kinship and the origins of our mortality.
Mabel’s recognition as one of Australia’s most revered painters has emerged from her consistent commitment to her art practice and her remarkable storytelling. In 2013 Mabel was awarded the prestigious Kate Challis RAKA Award and was a finalist in the Fleurieu Art Prize for landscape painting.
Mabel is an expert Gija speaker and her paintings articulate complex Ngarranggarni stories and document early colonial encounters from her country Darrajayin, which is covered largely by Springvale Station today.
Mabel Juli was born in the early 1930s at Five Mile, near Moola Boola Station (south of Warmun). Following the end of the station era in the East Kimberley, Mabel settled in Warmun where she began painting in the 1980s under the encouragement of senior Warmun artists. As Mabel says, “I started painting when the old girl [Queenie McKenzie] was here – she was the one who taught me to paint.
She told me, ‘You try that painting’, and I started to paint. I was doing that Garnkiny [Moon]; that’s the painting I started with – because my mother and father told me that Ngarranggarni [Dreaming] story. I was reminded of all those stories from my mum and dad – like Gelinggenayin Hill and the Old Woman Singing Out for Her Dog. Those stories come from my country. They used to take me out bush when I was a little girl – good size – and they told me all about those Dreaming stories. And I always remember those stories. I got ‘em in my brain.”
Watch a video about Mabel Juli’s life on cattle stations here: https://open.abc.net.au/projects/i-am-an-artist-i-come-from-the-bush-49yr8rl/contributions/mabel-and-the-wild-west-25uv5sf
Listen to a radio story about Mabel Juli digging for ochre here: https://open.abc.net.au/posts/digging-for-ochre-with-mabel-juli-34xu8bj
For information about purchasing works, please contact the Art Centre on (08) 9168 7496.