Mabel Juli was born in 1932 in Barlinyin, East Kimberley, Western Australia. She began painting in the 1980s, following in the footsteps of Rover Thomas, and alongside celebrated East Kimberley artists, Queenie McKenzie and Madigan Thomas. These artists pioneered the use of new colours by mixing ochres and natural pigments (known as Gija palette). Together they have continued to champion the extension and use of the Gija palette to include colours like pink, purple and green. She is currently a senior Gija artist and Law and Culture Woman at the Warmun Art Centre. Passing on her knowledge of both pigments and storytelling of her ancestral site, Juli also worked alongside her brother, Rusty Peters, until his death in 2020.
As a child, Juli would spend time in the wilderness under the moon and the stars. She retells these Ngarranggarni creation stories (Moon Dreaming) and Garnkiny doo Wardel (Moon and Star) within her paintings, exploring the ideas of forbidden love, kinship and the origins of mortality. Through this subject, Juli demonstrates the endurance and timelessness of these stories from her own significant ancestral sites, which were passed down to her. Her paintings possess a distinctly minimal and reduced aesthetic.
Juli has exhibited extensively throughout Australia and the United Kingdom and her paintings are part of both public and private collections worldwide.