Sam is an Australian Aboriginal artist who was born in Babinda, Queensland. He is from the Kalkadoon Tribe, based around Mount Isa. It was here where Sam grew up, with the Kalkadoon Doomagee people. He was compelled to become an artist due to the inspiration he received from the stories told to him by his elders.
Sam moved to Katherine in 1982 and became involved with the Jawyon and Wardaman people, learning about their country and listening to their stories. He spent some time with his Grandfather (on his wife's side), world-renown artist, Clifford Possum, staying with Clifford in Adelaide working as his assistant and learning painting techniques from him.
About the artwork
In this painting, Sam paints the Barramundi. The Barramundi is a large Australian fish found in freshwater rivers and in the ocean. The freshwater fish is the variety most represented in Aboriginal artworks. Barramundi is found in the northern rivers in the Kimberley, Northern Territory, and Queensland. In these areas, it features in rock art sites where ancient paintings have survived for thousands of years.
Barramundi images that look just like the ones from ancient times are still being painted by Aboriginal artists today. Often the images show the insides of the Barramundi, which has come to be called the x-ray style of art.