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Obery Sambo

Obery Gobey Sambo

Obery Sambo

Born 1970

Tribe: Meuram Tribe/ Dowareb Tribe

Originality: Mer - Murray Islands, Eastern Torres Strait.

Totem:    Komagaigai (White Booby Bird)

               Opnor Beizam (Tiger Shark)

               Nam (green sea turtle)

               Argi Dabor ( Giant Spanish Makeral)

               Wada (Black Frigate Bird with red under its neck)

               Naiger/Keken Koki Wag (Easterly wind)

               Ziai Wag (Westerly wind)


I am from Mer- Murray Islands of th Eastern Torres Strait Islands. My home is home to the Meriam people. I have cultural and ancestral links to the neighbouring Island of Dowar and Parem or Parama Island of Western Province PNG.

I am both a performer and a visual artist. I manage my dance group which is comprised of my wife and my Children. My father is my Mentor as he is regarded as a 'Kokem le', Elder of Elders in Knowledge and skill.

My Mother passed away recently in the last 12 months, she was a very cultural person that also gave me knowledge and taught me skills in my art as with my Father as well.

My dance group is called Meuram Murray Island Dancers of Townsville. Townsville is where we currently reside and have been promoting my identity and culture to the general public. As a child I have performed with my immediate family from Qld, NSW and Adelaide SA.

We perform traditional Murray Island dancers with an educational focus that encorages the maintenance and awareness of cultural identity, particularly amongst younger people. 

Dance is a very important part of Torres Strait Island cultural expression. It is this knowledge and understanding and authority that informs and drives my visual art practice. 

Cultural knowledge has been bestowed upon me as an artist from Elders and Family that includes my Grandfather the legendary Eddie Kioki Mabo who was largely responsible for the High Court of Australias Mabo Decision which fundamentally changed land law in Australia recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditional ownership.


Whereas my artistic practice and expression through dance is strictly traditional, my work in visual media shows a contemporary interpretation based on tradition.


Group exhibitions


2020 - The Vigil Australia Day 2020, NITV Sunrise Ceremony.

2019 - Sydney Dance Rites, Sydney Australia.

2019 - Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Cairns Queensland.

2019 - Legacy reflections on Mabo

2019 - The Partnershipping Project

2018 - Sydney Dance Rites, Sydney Australia

2018 - Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Cairns Australia.

2017 - Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Cairns Australia

2017 - Workshop, Umbrella Studio, Townsville Australia

2016 - Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Cairns Australia.

2011 - Land Sea and Sky Contemporary Art of the Torres Strait Islands, Queensland Art Gallery, GOMA Brisbane Qld

2011 - Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Cairns Queensland.

2010 - Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Cairns Queensland.

2006 - Ailan Currents, Perc Tucker Gallery, Townsville Queensland.




Victoria Gallery of Arts

National Gallery of Ausralia, Canberra Qld.

Qld Art Gallery/GOMA, Brisbane Qld.

Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns Qld.

Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, CAmbridge University UK.

2010 - Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Cairns Queensland.           

CIAF 2020 Sponsors