Mary Gibson Gibson Desert, b. 1956

Mary Gibson was  born in the bush at a place called Kurnilwarri between Tjukurla and Patjarr in the Gibson desert. Gibson married senior law man Kelly Peterman, a Director of Tjarlirli Art Centre at Tjukurla. They lived near the Docker River community with their three children, daughter Roma, and two sons, Bob and Roger. 


Gibson spent many years travelling throughout the western desert region, including regular trips to Tjarlirli Rockhole, years before the Tjukurla community was established nearby. She speaks of travelling to Kayilli (Patjarra) and then onto Port Headland for a holiday where her husband sadly passed away. She lived in Tjukurla when it was first established as an outstation from Docker River in 1989 and remembers the building of what is now Tjukurla community. She was one of the first artists painting at Tjarlirli Art when it was established in 2006. 


The diversity of landscape in Gibson’s Country is clear through her representative bold lines and detailed dot work in her traditional style paintings. At the junction of the Great Victoria and Gibson deserts and bisected by dramatic ranges in the east and south and the long dunes of the sandy country to the west, there are rockholes, soakwaters (underground water), creeks, salt lakes and clayplans that are sites of significance and represented in her artworks.


Following the death of her husband, Gibson now spends her time between Tjukurla and Docker River and is a central woman at the art centres in both communities. She is an important cultural figure with an exceptional depth of knowledge of the region she has lived in all her life. work shows repeating motifs that are part of a visual language unique to the Western Desert, to allow for a continuation of traditional forms and stories.