Mater and Gail Mabo Unveil Landmark Art for Townsville

Media Release
July 8, 2022

Renowned Townsville artist Gail Mabo has unveiled a stunning 6m high artwork on the façade of Mater Private Hospital Townsville’s new six-storey car park.

The original — a two-panel acrylic on canvas — has been digitally printed onto a series of aluminium panels to make up the nine square metre installation, which was unveiled as part of the hospital’s NAIDOC Week celebrations.

MPHT Executive Officer Libbie Linley said the artwork was an impressive demonstration of Mater’s ongoing commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culture.

“Gail’s artwork provides us with an opportunity to appreciate and embrace the cultural knowledge of this land as part of Australia’s national heritage,” Ms Linley said.

“The theme for this year’s NAIDOC Week is Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! and we are certainly doing that at Mater Townsville by unveiling this remarkable piece of art.”

Ms Mabo, a Merium woman from Mer Island in the Torres Strait Islands and the daughter of lands right activist Eddie Mabo, said her piece reflected the spirits of the land, as well as the blue and earthy tones of the region.

“We believe that when people know the story of place, they can own the space,” Ms Mabo said.

The original artwork has taken pride of place in the hospital foyer, alongside the story that inspired the piece.

“It acknowledges the four different clans around Townsville, including the Gurambilburra Wulgurukaba, Bindal, Nywaigi, and Gugu Badhun People,” Ms Mabo said.

Mater is committed to strengthening the relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples and is currently developing a Reconciliation Plan to embed reconciliation in the hearts, actions and minds of Mater and its staff.

Paynters Project Manager Paul Goldsack led the installation of the artwork.

“We are honoured to have led the delivery of such an essential local project,” he said.

“Our business has enjoyed working with Mater to integrate Gail’s authentic design, that will stand tall on the facade and represent the importance of connection to country.”

The six-storey car park is part of the Mater Private Hospital Townsville Master Plan and is on track to open in early August, providing 400 car spaces for patients and visitors.

The project was made possible with the support of a $19.75m loan from the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility.