Mabel King (1938 – 2006) was one of the Ngarinyin elders whose life encompassed the great fifty year journey that saw the traditional people of the west Kimberley move as a group to ultimately settle at Mowanjum community. Her great knowledge of Ngarinyin stories and custom fed into her life as a painter, which she expressed in bold and naive works that tell the story of her culture.

Mabel’s paintings are charming depictions of our most ancient cave art with Wandjina figures “Wandjinas are our supreme spiritual beings. During Lailai or creation time, we believe the Wandjinas created the earth and all living things. The stories of their actions during Lailai are the law and culture of our country.” (The Wandjina creation ancestor from the Kimberley – was featured in the 2000 Olympics ceremony as a significant symbol of Australia’s Living Heritage, with the comment made that she does not have a mouth so she cannot pass judgement) and Gjorn Gjorn (the subject of the Bradshaws).   A rock painting from the period has been dated via a fossilised wasp nest built over it, as being at least 17,500 years old.

This exhibition comprises the work that was part of her estate and is held in conjunction with Mowanjum Community in the Kimberley.