Today we had the pleasure of talking to one of our newest collaborating artists, Loreen Samson. Loreen was born in Roebourne where she still lives today. She was a founding artist of the Roebourne Art Group (now known as the Wangaba Roebourne Art Group).
Wangaba means ‘Alive’ in the local traditional Ngarluma language. The Ngarluma people are the Saltwater people whose land spans all the way from Maitland River, down to the south, out to the ocean's edge and along the Chichester Ranges to the Peawah River.
Loreen is a talented artist with a real passion for the power of sharing stories through her art. It was fascinating to get to know a bit more about Loreen, and to learn more about the motivation behind her art...
Tell us about a little more about your life in your local community
I teach art in my own community. I also go out and talk to children in schools. I teach the children to respect their elders. I teach them that we are all one people, that there should be no racism. I think that one of the most important things we can do is pass this onto the children.
When did you start creating art?
I first started about thirty-odd years ago. I joined an art crew through a work for the dole scheme.
How would you describe your artistic style?
I create art that tells about the way I feel, about how I feel the life is here. To me, the most important thing is about communication, about trying to communicate with each other.
What do you draw your inspiration from?
From the beauty of the country, from the respect of the country. When we learn from the country, we experience how to do the movements of the land. The country has life. It gives life to take life.
What do you hope to contribute to the world through your art?
Communicating culture and respect. Teaching the children is to me one of the most important things we can do. Helping them learn that we are all one, that we walk as one. Race is not important, colour is irrelevant, we are all one.
We are all telling stories from different places all over the land. We are all telling our own stories from different places all over the land. I want others to see my journey through my eyes. How I see things, we all see things differently.
Why did you decide to collaborate with Life Apparel?
I respect the art of the others. I think that it’s important that you’re promoting art and culture. There is movement in the land, we are all the roots of the land. We carry these roots on from our ancestors. It’s so important to tell our stories and to share them with others.
[When you look at the Life Apparel website,] you can see the different styles of all the artists. You can tell from the different colours and styles that each artist comes from a different place, tells a different story, as they see it. It’s not about the shirt, it’s about the culture.
By putting artwork on clothing you’re giving people better relationships with culture.
This is so important. You’re giving them a chance to share these stories with other people. This helps to connect us.
Who would you like to see wearing your artwork?
Anyone. Everyone. If I see non-Indigenous people wearing my artwork, this makes me happy. Indigenous people, non-Indigenous, everyone. The clothing allows everyone to wear the artwork and to pass on its story. Many people will like a certain design because of the colour, but to me, it’s not about the colour, it’s about the story. I like that people can read about this story and learn about the story behind the artwork before buying it. It allows them to understand the power of the story and the culture of the artwork.
You can learn more about Loreen and see her range of polo shirts, women's tops, leggings and other apparel for the Naidoc 2020 Collection here.