The artist is from the Eastern Torres Strait island of Darnley (Erub).
Most Torres Strait Islanders are accomplished carvers. It is an age-old tradition that can be traced back many hundreds of years.
Masks and other ceremonial regalia, canoe hulls, drums, weapons and items of personal adornment were all intricately carved often to identify the owner or clan to whom they belonged.
Pearl shell is a favoured carving medium as it is local to the region. The inner shell layer of ‘nacre’ is strong and resilient and is what gives Sam’s carvings their beguiling iridescent sheen.
Barramundi are native to the Islands and are an important food source.
The glint of sunlight reflected from their bodies as they dart through the crystal clear waters of the Islands mimic the shimmer of the artist’s pearl shell carvings.
Sam is a highly respected artist and carver. Because of the intricacy of his carvings Sam’s output is not prodigious. The work he does produce is avidly sought after by those collectors who are familiar with his work.