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In a painting commissioned by QSuper, Indigenous artist Martina Ah Sam has created a vibrant painting to grace the QInvest Townsville office.
As a girl, Martina Ah Sam searched for bush tucker with her grandmother, collecting berries along the river and catching goannas by their tails. Ah Sam’s mother, an Arrente woman, painted, and gave her daughter small ceramic pieces to decorate.
Those childhood experiences unite in the vibrant painting Ah Sam created for QInvest’s Townsville office. At the centre of the artwork, goannas scramble toward a burrow under conkerberry bushes. Circles of lighter blue represent water holes.
The painting is called ‘Night Hunt.’
“I sponge painted to make the overlay dark and light in places, like the night sky,” Ah Sam said.
Her painting is one of four that QSuper commissioned from Aboriginal artists to promote reconciliation and to make members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent feel welcome.
Growing up in Mount Isa, Ah Sam sometimes entered her ceramic pieces in shows for fun. In high school, she took a few painting classes but learned mostly from her mum and by doing. Her mother worked in traditional Aboriginal colours of deep red, ochre and white.
“As I got older, I experimented more with colour,” she said. On her canvasses and ceramic dishes, blazing yellows and greens mix with Pacific blues and traditional Aboriginal hues. Fish, goanna, witchetty grub and other bush tucker, tributes to her grandmother, dominate her work.
“We have a right to paint those things, as they are passed down through families,” she explained.
QSuper’s purpose is to provide members with the best possible retirement outcomes. And, as one of the country’s largest funds, QSuper is committed to supporting and improving the communities in which members live and work. Partnerships can help improve the wellbeing of our members and communities around Queensland. By supporting members to work well and live well, partnerships can make a meaningful difference.
Martina Ah Sam also uses pyrography to burn intricate designs into wooden serving boards. Recently, the deputy mayor of Townsville bought several of her miniature paintings to give as gifts on a trip to Taiwan.
Ah Sam lives in Townsville with her husband and two children. When they return to Mount Isa, they hunt for bush tucker.
“When we go back home, we love to take the kids out and teach them what I grew up with,” she said.
In June 2018, we launched our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which demonstrates our dedication to advancing reconciliation in Australia.
Our RAP focuses on improving financial literacy, promoting cultural awareness, and increasing access to superannuation services and potential benefits. We will deliver practical actions that can help build stronger relationships with, and enhance respect for, our First Australians.
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