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Celebrating Eddie Mabo at State Library

[supplied by SLQ]


Image: supplied

The man behind the game-changing Native Title Act, Eddie Koiki Mabo, will be celebrated in a travelling exhibition at State Library from 28 May.


Legacy: Reflections on Mabo brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists in the spirit of reconciliation, 30 years after the historic decision in the High Court.


Co-curated by Gail Mabo, Dr Jonathan McBurnie and Kellie Williams (former Director of Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts), this exhibition features both established and emerging artists from around Australia, including nationally renowned North Queensland artists.


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.


Co-curator Kellie Williams said the exhibition would “celebrate Mabo’s legacy through a diverse cultural cross-section of artists in the spirit of reconciliation, progress and diversity”. 


Featured artists: Blak Douglas & Adam Geczy, Elisa Jane Carmichael & Sonja Carmichael, Toby Cedar, Dian Darmansjah, Katina Davidson, Hayley Megan French, Marion Gaemers, Patricia Hoffie, David Jones, Ian Kaddy, Talitha Kennedy, Jo Lankester, Veronica Lulu & Kim Mahood, Ron McBurnie, Arone Meeks, Jim Paterson, Tommy Pau, Obery Sambo, Anneke Silver, Ken Thaiday Sr and Judy Watson.


State Library will also launch a special podcast to celebrate this remarkable trailblazer. 


Hi, I’m Eddie is a six-part podcast series that uncovers the man behind the headlines. It can be found on podcast platforms or at from 1 June to mark Mabo Day (3 June).


Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said “Uncle Eddie Koiki Mabo is remembered for his decade-long legal claim in the High Court of Australia that succeeded in overturning terra nullius (land belonging to nobody) and setting the legal foundation for land rights for First Nations people in this country.


“It is inspirational to see these artists honour the Mabo legacy through their extraordinary work.


“Legacy: Reflections on Mabo will inspire visitors to reflect on the often-uncomfortable truths of our shared history, and the social, legal and political impacts over the 30-years since the Mabo High Court judgement.  


“The Queensland Government commends the State Library of Queensland, Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts, and Museums and Galleries Queensland on this important exhibition.


“This exhibition represents yet another important step in our journey towards reconciliation and the advancement of this Government’s Path to Treaty to heal the past and reframe the relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Queenslanders,” Ms Enoch said.


State Librarian and CEO Vicki McDonald AM said “This fascinating exhibition helps tell the story of Eddie Koiki Mabo and his landmark legal case in new and creative ways. 


“It is part of State Library’s ongoing commitment to collect, interpret and share First Nations perspectives of Queensland history.


“We would like to acknowledge Umbrella Studio and Museums and Galleries Queensland for bringing this important and timely exhibition to State Library.”


Legacy: Reflections on Mabo exhibition 

28 May – 8 Oct 

Open daily | Free entry

Philip Bacon Heritage Gallery, level 4 | State Library of Queensland, Cultural Centre, South Bank | #slqMaboLegacy


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[supplied by NMA]

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[Bension Siebert and Jennifer Douglas, ABC]

The elders working to memorialise the site want it to be understood in its full context, to acknowledge the horror of the atrocity and honour the tens of thousands of years of Aboriginal history that came before it.

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