Sydney/Eora Market SS23 Indigenous Program Recipient – Soul Reign

We’re so happy to introduce you to our Sydney/ Eora SS23 Indigenous Program recipient, Soul Reign. Behind this social enterprise is Lyle Ah Sam, a First Nations artist, teacher and storyteller. Lyle is a contemporary rarrk (also spelt raark) artist who uses traditional mediums and techniques developed over 9+ years under the guidance of his Uncle, Teacher, and Elder, Johnny Daylight Lacey.

You can meet Lyle, admire the intricacy of his art and take some home for your walls at the Sydney/ Eora Design Market, 8-10 December at The Hordern Pavilion. 

Please introduce yourself and tell us about Soul Reign. Where did the name come from?

My name is Lyle Ah Sam and I’m a Mitakoodi, Wakka Wakka man. I’m a First Nations contemporary rarrk artist (also spelt raark). I live and work on Dharawal Country, NSW, with my wife and children. I was raised on Larrakia Country, Northern Territory. The name Soul Reign means sovereignty. It’s an affirmation of self-determination, empowerment and authenticity.

When did you start your painting journey and why was it important to start your business?

All my art knowledge is handed down from my Elders. I’ve been painting for 9+ years under the guidance of my Uncle, Teacher, and Elder, Johnny Daylight-Lacey. Uncle Johnny Daylight-Lacey’s knowledge was taught to him by his Elder, Uncle Joseph Baird-Wallis, whose teacher was Uncle David Malangi. Starting Soul Reign meant being an independent artist, creative freedom, financial independence, and authority over our art to hand down to my children and family. Our art carries stories from the past, to the present, to future. It’s important to strengthen and protect traditional and contemporary expressions of First Nations culture and the sharing of cultural knowledge and skills between generations.

What is your favourite or most significant artwork?

It’s a piece that I’m painting with my Uncle and Elder Johnny Daylight-Lacey. This painting is still being painted, and it will take a long time to complete. It’s my favourite because it holds a deep and sacred meaning in my cultural art practice.

You use a lot of symmetry in your artwork, painting two of the same thing, for example, two dolphins dancing or two water lilies blooming. Is there a reason you do this?

The meaning can be different depending on the painting. Two dolphins or two cranes can represent a sacred Union, a spiritual partnership. Two blooming water lilies can represent a mother and father while the buds represent children. Nature demonstrates symmetry, a balance and harmony, a partnership and coming together.

What can shoppers expect to find at your Finders Keepers stall?

I’ll be debuting new paintings on linen and releasing new prints at The Finders Keepers. I’ll be painting live and holding space for conversation, connection, and sharing stories.

What are your hopes for the future of Soul Reign?

I hope to continue doing what I love. I’m excited to continue to learn from my Elders. To continue making connections in local communities and across the world.  I’m currently running our Art & Mentoring Program for First Nations youth at Newtown Public School and our Waterlily Early Childhood Program at Plumtree Preschool.

Connect with Soul Reign:

Meet the maker at:
Sydney Design Market
Friday 8th December 4pm – 9pm
Saturday 9th December 10am – 5pm
Sunday 10th December 10am – 5pm
Hordern Pavilion, Moore Park
Get Tickets Here
RSVP on Facebook

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