HomeArticlesArts & CultureFinding Your True North with Gold Coast Artist, Lisa Sorbie Martin
Stillness in time (Photo credit: @sorbie_collections)

Finding Your True North with Gold Coast Artist, Lisa Sorbie Martin

Kobi Facto | October 2020

“I think for artists, it’s important to find your true north – you’ve got to find your signature,” says Gold Coast based Torres Strait artist, Lisa Sorbie Martin.

Hailing from the Torres Strait, Lisa Sorbie Martin has been one of the Gold Coast’s most celebrated artists for over two decades. She has captivated audiences with her vibrant public works, sculptures, paintings, ceramics, textiles and designs.

“The roots of my artwork come from my passion for using pastel crayons as a kid. I love the vibrancy of colour and creating work that uses different materials while also melding my indigenous and Torres Strait culture,” says Lisa.

“It’s like creating something out of stainless steel. People don’t see indigenous artists as creating from steel or acrylic or anything that is a modern material.

“I like to be a little bit eclectic with my work and bend the thought process,” Lisa explains.

A prime example of Lisa’s iconic artistic style was displayed at the Gold Coast’s SWELL Sculpture Festival titled Stillness in Time. The piece was commissioned by The City of Gold Coast in 2016 and became one of Lisa’s most celebrated works.

“It’s a work that talked about culture,” says Lisa.

“I have a lot of people say to me, “You’re so lucky to have culture.” For me, I always ponder that and think, well, you have culture too. Everyone’s got culture.

“I was inspired by us as Torres Strait Island people. The way we talk and converse about culture is, we go sit on the beach and we talk. That’s where we catch our food, that’s where we play our games, we yarn and we build relationships there,” Lisa explains.

The sculpture was crafted from polished stainless steel and hot pink acrylic flowers that represented the eucalyptus tree. Etched in the branches of the trees were poignant questions such as: Who’s your mother? Who’s your father? Who are your grandparents? Where are you from?

“When you ask yourself those things, that’s where you’ll pinpoint your culture. That’s your lineage. However, culture is living and breathing it every day,” Lisa explains.

Similarly, Lisa said that Arts and Culture is fundamental to a city’s DNA.

“We’re different from every other city,” says Lisa.

“The Gold Coast has a bit of a fun, cheeky personality – and that’s something that attracts me to this place.

“I think we just need to be confident in portraying our city as we live it and experience it.

“We’re starting to build momentum that is true to the Gold Coast with Art and Culture – I think we are heading for some exciting times.”

Lisa’s latest project Sky Weave is set to be revealed as part of the Gold Coast’s Bleach* Festival in November 2020.

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