Indigenous artist Wayne 'Buddy' Martin

Wayne 'Buddy' Martin is a proud Kamilaroi man from Collarenebri on the NSW/QLD border, who spent much of his childhood on the Walli Mission. Buddy is a country boy at heart and has fond memories of his time on the mission, living in a one room tin shelter with his family.

He is the son of Beverly Thorne and Thomas Martin, and has six sisters, two daughters and four grandchildren. As a child, Buddy’s learning began while watching his Uncles and Aunts draw in the dirt.

At age 17, Buddy’s family made the move to Canberra where he completed his Certificate in Painting and Decorating and where he ran his own business for many years, with numerous tenders with Government Departments such as the Department of Human Services, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and Aboriginal Housing. During Reconciliation and NAIDOC weeks, Buddy is highly sought after to run workshops, art projects, and mentoring in surrounding schools, Government departments, agencies and not for profit organisations.

Buddy has worked with many organisations  and programs over the years including (but not limited to), the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit (ATSIS); the Western Sydney MRC (Migrant Refugee Community) Community HeART Project; the Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service; the Canberra Men’s Centre; schools across Canberra and Sydney; the Migrant Refugee Centre; Barnardos (through its Deadly All Stars program); the Gugan Gulwan Street Beat Youth Outreach Program; and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Boomanulla Raiders Rugby League Football Club.

Buddy is a humble artist who has been recognised for his work and contribution to raising awareness of Aboriginal culture through his art. He has twice been a finalist of Canberra’s NAIDOC Artist of the Year, and in 2019 was awarded the ACT NAIDOC Artist of the Year. His artistic style has been described as traditional as well as contemporary as he draws from nature, his mind, heart, spirit and ancestors for inspiration.

Buddy’s artistic endeavours also includes wood burning, carving and making didgeridoos and artefacts. Through his art, Buddy demonstrated his commitment to reconciliation in a practical sense bringing together both Aboriginal and non-Indigenous communities within the local and far reaching regions; which also allows Buddy to give voice to his culture and to grow a mutual and respectful understanding for all regarding Aboriginal culture. Everything Buddy does is from the heart and can be related back to his strength in his own identity, his own resilience, connection to culture and his generous spirit.

Pictured right: the message sticks and artist Buddy Martin.