Mabel Juli Wirroongoon

Through powerful, minimalist compositions, Mabel Juli Wirroongoon shares important Ngarrangarni stories of the Gija people from East Kimberley in Western Australia. Well known for her iconic Garnkiny doo Wardel (Moon and Star) paintings that explore forbidden love and kinship, Juli also explores stories about Lalanggarrany doo Darndal (Crocodile & the Turtle), Darrajayn (Springvale Station), Warrarnany (Eagle) and Wanggarnal (Crow).

In her role as senior Gija artist and law and culture woman at Warmun, Mabel Juli is heavily involved with the intergenerational knowledge transfer of Gija culture. These stories help connect Juli to Country, Ancestors and her family and through sharing them, help to preserve both individual and community identity. 

Born c.1932 at Five Mile, near Moola Bulla Station, East Kimberley, Western Australia, Mabel Juli’s mother and father told her stories including Ngarrankarrni (Dreamtime) and taught her sacred Mawoondool (white ochre) Dreaming ceremony, body paint, artwork painting & harvesting. She was encouraged to paint by Queenie McKenzie, Rover Thomas and her brother Rusty Peters. She continues the East Kimberley tradition of utilising natural earth pigments as well as ochre-coloured acrylic paint in her bold work. 

Mabel Juli lives and works at Warmun, East Kimberley, Western Australia. Her work is held in all major public collections, as well as many private collections throughout Australia. She is the recipient of the The Kate Challis RAKA Award for Visual Arts (2013) and is an eight-time finalist in the Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) (1994, 2000, 2001, 2010, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2020). 

Niagara Galleries wishes to acknowledge and thank Warmun Art Centre for their support in showing Mabel Juli’s work. 

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Mabel Juli Wirroongoon 2024

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