Bonita Mabo painted by Goulburn artist

THE portrait of Bonita Mabo - Bonita Queen of Land Rights – by Goulburn artist Gregory S Fergusson Exhibition was unveiled last Thursday in Queanbeyan.

Indigenous Business Australia Deputy CEO Kaely Woods and newly appointed Director of The AARK Jessie Mabo- Smith unveiled the portrait at the The Artists

Shed Gallery.

Jointly presented by Indigenous Business Australia and The Ag- Arts Residency Kenmore Limited, the event was a spectacular success with lightning, thunder and bucketing rain enhancing the poetry recitation by Wiradjuri youth Harley Urquhart from Goulburn as well as a spectacular blues performance by Wiradjuri singer/songwriter from Wellington NSW, Evelyn Willie.

Senior Butchulla man from K’Gari (Fraser Island), Joe Joe Gala underscored the unveiling with a haunting didgeridoo performance.

The ACT Torres Strait Islander Association dancers also performed. Bonita Mabo attended, along with her eldest daughter, Jessie Mabo-Smith and the youngest of her seven children, Celuia Mabo-Cornhill, grandchildren Kaleb

Mabo-Cohen and Desai Mabo-Smith, who read a personal letter from Her Excellency The Governor-General

Quentin Bryce.

Eddy Mabo died at 55 years of age, prior to the famous High Court of Australia Mabo Decision and subsequent Australian Government Aboriginal Land Rights legislation.

One of the organisers of the event, Ag-Arts Residency Kenmore (AARK) chair Shane Mortimer said Bonita Mabo carried on the fight for Aboriginal Land Rights where her husband left off.

The giant 5m x 2m portrait by Gregory S Fergusson with Samara Littlemore is a colourful celebration of Bonita

Mabo’s achievements. The Gregory S Fergusson Exhibition continues at The Artist’s Shed, 14 Foster Street Queanbeyan NSW until January 30 2011 See www.artistsshed.com for more information.

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