Obery Sambo

Born: 1970
Tribe: Meuram
Totems: Komagaigai (white booby bird) and Wada (man of war hawk)
Media: Dance and sculpture

The artist is from Mer (Murray Island), home to the Miriam people of the Eastern Torres Strait. Obery also has cultural and ancestral links to the neighboring island of Dauar and Parem (Western Province of Papua New Guinea)

He is both a performance and visual artist. He manages the dance group, Obery Productions, which comprises himself, his four sons, his three nephews and a niece. The group performs traditional Murray Island dances with an educational focus that encourages the maintenance and awareness of cultural identity, particularly amongst younger people.

Dance is a very important part of Torres Strait Islander cultural expression. It is this knowledge, understanding and authority that informs and drives his visual art practice. Cultural knowledge has also been bestowed on the artist from elders and family that includes his grandfather, the legendary Eddie Koiki Mabo who was largely responsible for the High Court of Australia’s Mabo decision which fundamentally changed land law in Australia recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait traditional ownership.

Whereas the artist’s artistic expression through dance is strictly traditional his work in visual media shows a contemporary interpretation based on tradition.

Group Exhibitions
2011   Land Sea and Sky: Contemporary Art of the Torres Strait Islands,   Queensland Art Gallery/GOMA, Brisbane Qld.
2011   Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Cairns Qld.
2010   Cairns Indigenous Art Fair Exhibition, Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns Qld.
2006   Ailan Currents, Perc Tucker Gallery, Townsville Qld
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Qld.
Queensland Art Gallery/GOMA, Brisbane Qld.
Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns Qld.
Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology, Cambridge University, UK


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