Barbara Sam

For Kalkadoon woman Barbara Sam, art is her way of life.

From a young age, Barbara remembers drawing pictures of tin shacks and houses on paper when living in Camooweal.

"I started working with paints in 1989 and had a small break in 2000 after showcasing my art in Sydney at the Olympics," she said.

Since then, the Mount Isa artist has made a living out of her Indigenous artwork having had exhibitions in Brisbane, Logan City Art Gallery and Stamford Plaza.

Her works are also on display locally in front foyers of Mount Isa TAFE, Legal Aid, Spinifex Junior Campus and various kindergartens.

Apart from paintings, Barbara has also designed clothing, jewellery and hand bags as well as Aboriginal artefacts like clapsticks, digging sticks, didgeridoos and shields.

Her painting "Dancing Brolgas" won first place in the Mount Isa Show in 2009 and was purchased and sent to Hong Kong as a wedding present.

Barbara says, although working as an artist can be tough, she wouldn't have it any other way.

"It's not easy, it's tough," she said.

"Creating art, it's a struggle. You've got to be prepared and it's very time consuming.

"You get a sore back, but it's worth it!"

Barbara said a number of other Indigenous artists inspire her to continue on with her passion for creating works of art.

"Albert Namatjira is my mentor," she said.

"He does the blue hills, I do the red hills. Art just pours out of me, it's hard to explain.

"Neville Bonner as well - he is a great leader for our people."

Apart from art, Barbara says her other passion is about educating people about her culture.

"I am passionate about art and giving understanding about Kalkadoon history because there are always two sides to every story," she said.

"I will always be a Kalkadoon warrior and I love the culture and the heritage."