Mornington Island Art

The evolution of Mornington Island Art has been dramatic. Since the historic introduction to the art world in 2005, the demand for the art has exceeded all expectations.

A background…

People began making artefacts and bark paintings using natural ochres in the 1950s on Mornington Island and in the 1970s people started using acrylic to paint on bark producing works for sale.

In the mid 1980s the Mornington Island Art (MIA) facility was built and a coordinator was appointed. Artists continued to make artefacts and began painting with acrylic on canvas.

In 2002 Moyinda Aboriginal Group, as it was then known, became part of Woomera Aboriginal Corporation. It is significant that a number of the painters are dancers – some continue to perform with the Mornington Island Dancers.

In 2004, MIA introduced a commission-based system and redirected its core business from primarily being a wholesaler of handcraft to also creating and producing visual arts for the fine arts market.  MIA artists resumed the practice of transforming body paint designs (used in traditional dance and ceremony) into paintings as illustrated in Paint-Up. In February 2005, a pivotal workshop was held at the Arts Centre in collaboration with the Brisbane-based Woolloongabba Art Gallery resulting in artists adapting traditional body paint designs to works on canvas. Woolloongabba Art Gallery exhibited 34 paintings in June 2005. Many works were sold and work by five artists were reserved and acquired by the Queensland Art Gallery. Work by two more artists has also been acquired.

Over the last three years these activities have continued to grow, and this has enabled many elderly members of the community to paint for the first time developing a new painting style and themes to include stories of their life and their country now much sought after by the fine art market. With contributions from many, we are deeply indebted to the continuous art development work that people like Inge Cooper and Debbie Eldemire have done with us over the past few years.

Mornington Island Art Promo

Since 2005


  • first exhibition of new work at Woolloongabba Art Gallery. Five artists’ works from this exhibition were acquired by Queensland Art Gallery
  • Mrs. Gabori first soloshow at Woolloongabba Art Gallery


  • Telstra Awards – Emily Evans first artist from Mornington to be preselected
  • Xstrata Award Queensland Art Gallery – Emily Evans and Mrs. Gabori invited to exhibit in first award


  • Telstra Awards – Mrs. Gabori and Netta Loogatha preselected
  • Xstrata Award – Netta Loogatha invited to take part
  • 2mx6m collaborative painting by 7 Bentinck Island artists acquired by NGV and The Tapestry Workshop in Melbourne commissioned by the Victorian Government to make 2mx6m Tapestry of the work to hang in the New Melbourne Recital Hall.


  • Mrs. Gabori artwork Ninjilki acquired by Muse De Quay Branley in Paris from Alcaston Gallery
  • The Heart of Everything: the art and artists of Mornington and Bentinck Islands published by McCullough and McCullough.

art2 (4) art2 (3) art2 (2) art2 (1)



Australia-Council-for-the-Arts IVAIS_logo_600 Qld-Art-Logo



Mirndiyan Gununa is a proud member of the Indigenous Art code

Art collaboration

We are represented in several markets throughout the world.  Please contact the nearest Art Gallery to you for further information.

art (5) art (6)art (10) art (9) art (8) art (7) art (4) art (3) art (2) art (1)


The following artists have been collected by the Queensland Art Gallery: –

  • Melville Escott
  • Gordon Watt
  • Bradley Wilson
  • Daryl Williams
  • Joelene Roughsey
  • Emily Evans
  • Mrs. Gabori.

Mrs. Gabori works have been acquired by Queensland Art Gallery, National Gallery of Victoria, the Musee de Quai Bradley in Paris, the Aboriginal Art Museum in Utrecht (Netherlands) and most recently the National Gallery in Canberra and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney


Share on FacebookGoogle+Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest