Joel Sam is a contemporary Indigenous artist residing in Cairns. He is a direct descendant of the clans of Saibai Island where he spent his early years before moving to Bamaga to complete high school, the place he calls home. His work explores his personal engagement with Torres Strait Island culture and family stories through the processes of printmaking and sculpture.
The use of traditional clan Minarel (pattern) embedded within his images is characteristic of Joel’s work. Totemic designs include Umai (dog), Koedal (crocodile), Baydham (shark), Waru (turtle) and Samu (cassowary) connected through ancient familial bonds. Often interwoven, these designs allow Joel to express a more intricate visual language representative of the complexities of his Saibai Island heritage.