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Wednesday 26 June 2024
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Legacy: Reflections on Mabo


Legacy: Reflections on Mabo celebrates the man behind the game-changing Native Title Act, Eddie Koiki Mabo. Co-curated by Gail Mabo, Dr Jonathan McBurnie and Kellie Williams, the exhibition brings together a selection of 22 works, by 25 Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, in the spirit of reconciliation twenty-five years after the historic achievement. Each artist has responded to an aspect of Eddie Mabo that they are drawn to, whether it is his life, politics, activism, or legacy. The works come together in surprising ways with reverence, compassion, anger, sadness and respect, celebrating a man who was both a rebel and a dreamer.

Legacy: Reflections on Mabo won the ‘projects by organisations with paid staff’ category in Museums & Galleries Queensland‘s 2021 Gallery and Museum Achievement Awards (GAMAA). Watch the awards ceremony here and read more about the GAMAA and other finalists here. The exhibition toured to 9 Australian venues after Umbrella, amidst 2 natural disasters and the pandemic. It received over 52,000 total visits.

Legacy: Reflections on Mabo is the first major exhibition to explore the life and legacy of Eddie Koiki Mabo from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives.

This exhibition is the first to incorporate significant curatorial direction by the Mabo family, and is unique in the way that the entire show is commissioned artworks created specifically for this project that have never been seen before.

This exhibition’s existence, and its significant reach to so many galleries in regions around Australia, means that the conversation about Indigenous rights continues for people of all ages – albeit through another context – art. And hopefully through this thoughtful, personal, and warm curatorial approach, Eddie’s story can be engaged with from a multitude of current perspectives, rather than being seen as something to examine from afar – through the distance of time.

Legacy: Reflections on Mabo features artwork by: Sonja Carmichael and Elisa Jane Carmichael, Toby Cedar, Dian Darmansjah, Katina Davidson, Blak Douglas and Adam Geczy, Shane Fitzgerald, Hayley Megan French, Marion Gaemers, Patricia Hoffie, David Jones, Ian Kaddy, Talitha Kennedy, Jo Lankester, Veronica Lulu and Kim Mahood, Ronald McBurnie, Arone Meeks, Jim Paterson, Tommy Pau, Obery Sambo, Anneke Silver, Ken Thaiday Snr, and Judy Watson.

Eddie’s story can also be inspiring and educational for kids. Read more below:


View and purchase the exhibition catalogue here.


Legacy: Reflections on Mabo toured nationally.


State Library of Queensland, QLD | 28 May 22 June 2022 - 9 October 2022

Rockhampton Museum of Art, QLD | 22 October 2022 - 29 January 2023


Bundaberg Regional Art Galleries, QLD | 26 August – 7 November 2021

Nautilus Arts Centre, Port Lincoln, SA | 25 June – 15 August 2021

Port Pirie Regional Art Gallery, SA | 22 March – 13 June 2021


Burrinja, Dandenong Ranges Cultural Centre, VIC | 7 December 2020 – 28 February 2021

Burnie Regional Gallery, TAS | 27 June – 2 August 2020 CANCELLED

Bunbury Regional Art Galleries, WA | 2 May – 14 June 2020 CANCELLED

Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, NSW | 7 February – 22 March 2020


Maitland Art Gallery, NSW | 9 November 2019 – 26 January 2020

Redland Art Gallery, QLD | 8 September – 27 October 2019

Legacy: Reflections on Mabo is a travelling exhibition presented by Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts and toured by Museums & Galleries Queensland. It has been generously assisted by the Australian Government’s Visions of Australia Program and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments. It is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland and the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.

See more of Umbrella's touring exhibitions here.

Exhibition roomview at Burndaburg Regional Art Gallery, QLD. Photograph by Sabrina Lauriston, courtesy of Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery.

Exhibition roomview at Burrinja, Dandenong Ranges Cultural Centre.

Roomview of Legacy: Reflections on Mabo at Redland Art Gallery.

Panel Discussion

Wednesday 24 August 2022
The State Library of Queensland hosted a conversation celebrating the exhibition, Eddie Koiki Mabo and the ongoing influence and impact he has had on Australian society and culture. Learn about some of the curatorial themes from Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts director, Kate O'Hara, exhibition co-curator and daughter of Eddie Koiki Mabo, Gail Mabo, and Brisbane contributing artists Judy Watson and Katina Davidson.


Select artworks

Blak Douglas and Adam Geczy, Struck Out, 2019, Digital print on plastic banner, 250 x 250cm.

Shane Fitzgerald, Incendiary II, 2018, Fujiflex prints, 153cm x 235cm.

Hayley Megan French, Being at home, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 101.5 x 162.5cm.

Marion Gaemers, Belonging, 2018, recycled and beach found rope net and plastic and wire, 63 x 83 x 77cm.

Patricia Hoffie, Forgive Us Our Tresspass, 2019, Painting on board, 3 panels: 60 x 204cm each.

David Jones, Mabo Confronts Leviathan, 2019, etching print on rag paper, 93.5 x 76.5cm.

Ian Kaddy, Usari (Yam), 2019, linocut print on paper, 97.5 x 76.5cm.

Talitha Kennedy, Shadow monument to the known but not seen: Ancestral boundary markers of Murray Island, 2019, Leather, thread, polyester fibre, silica gravel and wire, 45 x 120 x 85cm

Jo Lankester, Bloodlines - Mapping the Landscape, 2019, multi-colour plate intaglio, 86 x 116.5cm.

Veronica Lulu and Kim Mahood, Sand Dunes and Fire Scars, Great Sandy Desert, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 80 x 155cm.

Ron McBurnie, Heart shaped Yam at Yaadi Mooli Creek, 2019, ink and watercolour on paper, 147.5 x 113.5cm.

Arone Meeks, Mabo 25 & Big Wet Community, 2018, mixed media, 61.2 x 183.2cm.

Tommy Pau, Lady Justice Mourning Her House, 2019, linocut print on paper, 95 x 73cm.

Obery Sambo, Ged Tarim Le, 2019, wood, cane, feathers, glue, twine, pearl shell, cassowary feather and paint, 18 x 88 x 58cm.

Anneke Silver, Euphemism, 2018, acrylic paint and chalk on stretched canvas, 91.5 x 122cm.

Ken Thaiday Snr, Koiki Mabo Celebration, 2012-2019, wood, feathers, black bamboo, plastic nylon line, glass, beads, cork, wire, screws, nails and synthetic polyner paint, 58 x 233 x 118cm.

Jim Paterson, "It's, The Economy, Stupid!", 2017, charcoal and Conte on Somerset cotton paper 300gsm, 91 x 120cm.

Judy Watson, mabo legacy with resistance pins, 2019, acrylic, graphite and lumocolour pencil on canvas, 180 x 100cm.

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Qld, 4810 Australia

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Acknowledgement of Country

Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts respectfully acknowledges the Wulgurukaba of Gurambilbarra and Yunbenun and the surrounding groups of our region - Bindal, Gugu Badhan, Nywaigi, Warrgamay, Bandjin and Gudjal - as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we gather, share and celebrate local creative practice. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first people of Australia. They have never ceded sovereignty and remain strong in their enduring connection to land and Culture.

Umbrella is a Dealer Member of the Indigenous Art Code. This means we are committed to fair and ethical trade with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, and transparency in the promotion and sale of artwork. As a Dealer Member and signatory to the Code we must act fairly, honestly, professionally and in good conscience in all direct or indirect dealings with artists.


Umbrella is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, part of the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy, and by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, state and territory governments. | Umbrella is supported by the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and receives funding from Creative Australia through the Australian Cultural Fund. | Townsville City Council is a funding partner of Umbrella's program.