Cooee Art Gallery Managing Director Mirri Leven
Adrian Newstead – Co-owner of Cooee Art Gallery
Djon Mundine – Artist Elder
Ken Done

Sydney’s newest gallery is the COOEE ART gallery in a new expansive 480sqm warehouse premises on Thurlow Street, Redfern.

COOEE ART in Redfern will operate as its new flagship gallery and auction space, in addition to its Bondi Beach location, with a program of monthly exhibitions alongside public program workshops and artist talks. The hybrid space will host the COOEE ART MARKETPLACE auction program and house an extensive archive collection of works for private appointments with collectors and art buyers.  

Founding Director & Senior Art Specialist for COOEE ART, Adrian Newstead OAM said: “We have now opened our new 480m2 warehouse space in Thurlow Street, Redfern. The premises is owned by Ken Done and was his art studio and clothing warehouse for many years. Cooee Art will now have its collector’s gallery at Bondi Beach, and an exhibition and auction space at this new Redfern premises. The Redfern location is everything we could have desired. It is large enough to accommodate Cooee Art as it expands into the future. From June we will hold two Indigenous Fine Art auctions each year as well as continuing to exhibit our stable of independent Aboriginal artists and remote community-based artists. Later this year we will celebrate our 40th year promoting Australian art, design, and culture nationally and internationally.”

Director for COOEE ART, Mirri Leven said: “The debut exhibitions for COOEE ART in Redfern celebrate the cultural resilience of First Nations artists through beauty, colour and a deep connection to Country. The word ‘Cooee’ comes from the local Sydney Dharug language meaning ‘Come Here’. You must be proud and strong to sing out and share your voice with the world. We are excited to share these important voices and their storytelling of Country through the new COOEE ART gallery with the wider community.” 

The Gallery has opened with two exhibitions, COOEE: Come Here and Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori.

COOEE: Come Here is a group exhibition features paintings, bark paintings, sculptures and video works dating from 1990-2020 by some of the most highly renowned artists in Aboriginal art and a strong representation of female painters including Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Queenie McKenzie, Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, Dorothy Napangardi, Kitty Napanangka Simon, Minnie Pwerle, Kathleen Petyarre, Regina Wilson, Yariti Young as well as Vincent Namatjira, Freddie Timms, John Mawurndjul, Timothy Cook and a video work by Djon Mundine OAM titled Wali (Possum-Marsupial), 2020.  COOEE: Come Here presents artists who bridge the gap between anthropological study object and contemporary fine art. 

Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori solo exhibition of 16 paintings dating 2007-2010 created for Mirndiyan Jununa Arts Centre on Mornington Island. Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori first picked up a paintbrush in 2005 at 81 years of age. The Lardil people in the Kaiadilt community had little exposure to fine art, or any comparable form of mark-making, prior to that time. Traditional tools, objects, or bodies were scarcely painted, and the only recorded art that relates these stories was a group of drawings made at the request of ethnologist Norman B Tindale during his expedition to Bentinck Island in 1960, now housed in the South Australian Museum. Her paintings are essentially concerned with meaningful sites, known through the artist’s intimate association during a lifetime spent on Bentinck Island. These sites are associated with tidal movement, seasonal change, major climatic events such as drought, and flood, and the presence of plants, sea birds, animals, and aquatic life. Gabori was mindful of the ebb and flow of life over all the seasons that made up her long life. ‘Her works can be thought of as a memory walk, and a mapping of her physical and social memory of Bentinck Island’ Djon Mundine, The Road to Bentinck Island: Sally Gabori, in The Corrigan Collection of Paintings by Sally Gabori, Macmillan Art Publishing, Melbourne, 2015.

The opening launch on Thursday 25 March featured speeches by Ken Done AM, Djon Mundine OAM and the Director of Cooee Art, Mirri Leven. 




Songstress Mi-Kaisha Songstress
Bush Tucker

Helen Tiernan and her Work

Featured image : The smoking ceremony prior to the launch of the new Cooee Art Gallery.  All  photos by Ben Apfelbaum