John Mainwaring Collection - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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John Mainwaring Collection

In 2012, John Mainwaring generously donated 81 artworks from his private collection to USC Art Gallery via the Cultural Gifts Program. From the late 1980s, John amassed a substantial collection of mostly Australian Indigenous art by artists such as Eubena Nampitjin, Gloria Petyarre, Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, Janangoo Butcher Cherel, Netta Loogatha, and Elizabeth Nyumi Nungarrayi, much of which inspired his acclaimed architectural practice.

Lilla WATSON; Two countries 2003; Scorched paper; 55 x 75cm; USC Art Collection; Acquired 2012; Donated through the Australian Governments Cultural Gifts Program by John Mainwaring; Photo: Mick Richards © Lillia Watson

Lilla Watson is an artist, activist and academic. Watson creates images using a burning technique where holes are burnt into the paper leaving scorch and smoke marks that complete the image.

The artist explains, ‘I work solely from Aboriginal terms of reference. In that, I hopefully project the Murri understanding that people are much more spirit than matter. The pictures I create are like age-old pictures being pushed up from the earth, so I can be really pleased that I have a technique or process whereby I am using very basic natural elements of burning, scorching, and smoke marks. I don’t use any paint.’

Lilla Watson in Marion Demozay Gatherings, Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art from Queensland, Australia, Keeaira Press, Southport, 2001.

Lilla Watson
Australia born 1940, Gangulu, Birri Gubba
Two countries 2003
Scorched paper, 55.0 x 75.0cm
USC Art Collection. Acquired in 2012. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by John Mainwaring
© Lilla Watson
Photo: Mick Richards

On display
USC Sunshine Coast
Building K
Level 1

Kinyu by Eubena Nampitjin

Eubena Nampitjin was an elder of the Wangkajunga people, a custodian of women’s law and a senior woman artist. She started painting in 1986, when women were becoming more broadly included in the growing art movement at Wirrimanu (Balgo). The surface of Kinyu is a metaphor for the surface of her Country.

Eubena Nampitjin
Australia c.1925–2013, Wangkajunga 
Kinyu 2008
Synthetic polymer paint on linen, 119.5 x 81.8cm
USC Art Collection. Acquired in 2012. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by John Mainwaring.
© Eubena Nampitjin/Aboriginal Artists Agency Ltd
Photo: Mick Richards

On display
USC Sunshine Coast
Innovation Centre
Level 1

Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally GABORI  c.1924-2015, Kaiadilt people All the fish in the sea 2005

Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori was a senior Kaiadilt artist from Bentinck Island in Queensland’s Gulf of Carpentaria. She came to painting very late in life at the age of 81 and established a remarkable career in a very short time. All the fish in the sea was competed in her first year of painting and references the schools of mullet, queenfish and mackerel that populate the waters of her home. The concentric circles suggest the patterns created in the water as these fish feed close to the surface.

Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori
Australia c.1924-2015, Kaiadilt 
All the fish in the sea 2005
Synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 420.0 x 195.0cm
USC Art Collection. Acquired in 2012. Donated through the Australian Government Cultural Gifts Program by John Mainwaring.
© Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda/Copyright Agency, 2020
Photo: Mick Richards

On display
USC Moreton Bay 
Foundation building
Ground floor, outside the Auditorium