Obery Sambo comes from a prolonged line of grasp mask- and headdress‑makers from Mer (Murray Island), dwelling to the Meriam folks of the japanese Torres Strait.
In addition to manufacturing customary headdresses from the area, Sambo produces experimental interpretations of masks and headwear that are normally activated by dance by the Meuram Murray Island Dance Team, proven in the late 1990s, which he prospects as instructor, artist and choreographer.
Sambo’s multidisciplinary follow is driven by his means to both equally sustain and adapt his family’s flourishing information. Footage of his Meriam ancestors dressed and dancing for ceremony was captured by University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, in 1898. The recordings served in the Meriam people’s successful Native Title ruling in 1992, regarded as the Mabo Scenario, as evidence of their continuing lifestyle. The outstanding masks witnessed in this clip are a source of great inspiration for Sambo.
The artist generates his very own distinctive responses to Meriam spirit guardians Sau Lamar and Sumes Borom (illustrated), and medicine guys Arsir Kirim le and Arsir le Kesi (illustrated). These masks are rendered in commercially manufactured products and paints, and whilst they may not conform to standard patterns, Sambo takes advantage of them as memory prompts to preserve the stories of these ancestors lively.
Obery Sambo ‘Arsir Kirim le and Arsir le Kesi’
Obery Sambo ‘Sumes Borom (Bush Boar)’
‘Embodied Information: Queensland Present-day Art’ / Queensland Art Gallery’s Gallery 4, Gallery 5 (Henry and Amanda Bartlett Gallery) and the Watermall / 13 August 2022 to 22 January 2023