Stillness in Time: Lisa Sorbie Martin

Lisa Sorbie Martin is an Indigenous artist known for her textile work. Hailing from the Torres Strait but calling Burleigh home these days, Sorbie is her traditional Torres Strait name – coming from her grandmother who originates from Murri Island.

Lisa recently participated in the City’s Indigenous Artists Camp on South Stradbroke Island and she’s been accepted to exhibit in SWELL Sculpture Festival this year. Blank’s editor Samantha Morris spoke to her about her piece.

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Congratulations on your inclusion in the Shifting Sands exhibition and Artists Camp. How was your experience?

Thank you, you know one cannot ever assume anything and my inclusion into this year’s Artist Camp is all done by a selection process so it was a real thrill to be included. I was very keen to be mentored by Brian Robinson who as you know is a prolific Lino Cut Artist who creates work with such excellence and precision and to spend a week learning from him is a once in a lifetime opportunity – and I jumped at the chance!

You specialise in textiles, but you’ve also done some public art work (like Broadwater Parklands) and now have a piece in SWELL, is there some consistent focus of your art irrespective of the medium?

Mmm, that’s a great question Sam! I suppose my focused consistency through my art practice has been to always be learning something new and not just learning about that particular medium or genera but study it. Research, learn about other artists who have pursued that media, learn about the various techniques that can be applied and stretch those boundaries into what you can create in that art form. I love to create in this way that bends peoples thought around how art should be fashioned or must look like. For example, generally most paint a tree green I more than likely will paint it orange or make it out of stainless steel.

What’s your experience of SWELL Sculpture Festival in the past?

In relation to the SWELL Sculpture Festival, this is my first time to be involved with this incredible event – can you believe that!! I have always marveled at the exquisite sculptures those remarkable artists had created in the past and I dreamt that one day I would be making something to contribute…. well that dream is about to come true and it’s pretty darn amazing.

Can you tell me about your piece Stillness in Time in SWELL Sculpture Festival?

My artwork is thought provoking and I’m hoping it will prompt people to think about what ‘culture’ means to them personally.

My sculptured work was inspired by a social interaction that naturally takes place in a peaceful, vibrant, soul nurturing and invigorating place for creativity and memories. An open horizon of glistening velvet ocean, with the sounds of saltwater rhythm’s calming my mind, soul and spirit – my families for generations sit on the sand and yarn together, we talk, laugh, cry, share, explore, gather food and have fun. The beach is our sacred place, where time stands still as we enjoy our life, family and our culture.

I encourage you to come nestle yourself on the sand and under the red eucalypt trees standing proudly like our ancestors who went before us and built a culture worthy of pride and honor. Repose for a moment in time amongst the business of life.

The creation of this sculpture flows from a place in my heart – a passion for my culture and my people of the Torres Strait Islands and for ones who feel they do not have a culture as such or no culture in their life, I would like them to know and understand that we all have culture in us no matter where we come from and under different circumstances one’s life may have been birthed and shaped.

I have created a space inspired by the iridescent red eucalypt tree that grows around our region of the Gold Coast. This art sculpture provokes one to have a mindful reflection of a truth about what culture means and how it is living and breathing in one’s heart and life – past, present and future.

What do you love most about SWELL?

The SWELL Sculpture Festival brings the community together and they have fun. The event is organised by a great team of people who are so supportive and encouraging. And wow! What a great festival on the Gold Coast Events Calendar! It’s a certain boost to our local economy and best of all artist who create such magnificent art pieces are given a great opportunity to exhibit their work not in a Gallery but on the most beautiful place on this planet – Currumbin Beach! Cannot top that.

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SWELL Sculpture Festival runs 9 – 18 September. More at

Artwork pictured: Stillness in Time by Lisa Sorbie Martin



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