Commitment to First Nations Peoples Health

Our artwork and story

‘Looking at Country - Cultural Connections’

by Riki Salam (Mualgal, Kuku Yalanji, Ngai Tahu), We are 27 Creative.


About the artwork

Magpie lark sings in early dawn light, mist lifts as heat rises.
Deep lines carved throughout Country, mud slides in shaded
mangroves streams nurtures new beginnings. Engravings etched in
wood send messages from place to place.
Stars guide our way and bring us to new and plentiful lands.
Tracks imprinted in desert sands, freshwater is found.
Pathways connect us all stretching across land, sea and sky.
Songs are sung in ceremony, Country is born, celebrations begin.

This artwork ‘Looking at Country - Cultural Connections’ is about looking at all different aspects and ways of looking and seeing country and how it provides for us for in many and varied ways. From time immemorial Country has sustained us across generations, we, the custodians of these lands need to continually care for and look at Country in new and different ways. As we care for Country, so Country will take care of us. Cultural pathways are connected to OCANZ which is symbolised as a meeting place and yarning circle. This central circle also reflects the iris and the almond shape reflects that of an eye. The OCANZ values are connected to the central circle and references the Southern Cross constellation significant to both Australia and Aotearoa. These values help guide the organisation to open up many and varied opportunities of entering into the ever-important work of optometry and bettering the health and well-being of First Nations People throughout Australia, Zenadth Kes (Torres Strait) and Aotearoa, New Zealand. The patterned pathways represent the importance of People, Culture and communities, these paths guide our way and reinforce support, stability and understanding throughout OCANZ.

About the artist 

Picture1 v2

Riki Salam, Indigenous artist was born and raised in Cairns on Yidinji Land connected to the Torres Strait and Yalanji Country on his Fathers side and Ngai Tahu, South Island of New Zealand on his Mother’s side. Riki works and produces his art in pen, ink, gouache, acrylic and on the computer. He enjoys exploring concepts of traditional culture in a contemporary format. Riki currently lives on Turrbul & Yaggera Country in Meanjin, Brisbane. Educated in both Cairns and Brisbane, he has over 20 years of industry experience as a graphic designer and artist. Riki has worked on many high-profile projects including the Qantas painted Boeing 747/800, Yananyi Dreaming, and produced artworks for Telstra, Origin, Woolworths, the Healing Foundation and the Australian Human Rights Commission to name a few. Riki also designed the identity for the G20 in 2014. He works in pen, ink and brush, gouache on paper, and with acrylic paints, exploring concepts of traditional culture in a contemporary format. To view more of Riki’s artworks visit



Māori Artwork

by Graham Tipene (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Haua, Ngāti Manu), Te Wheke Moko Design Studio

Screenshot 2024 05 21 124919

About the artwork

This artwork has been designed for OCANZ by Graham Tipene (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Haua, Ngāti Manu) using Māori design thinking and motifs that ground the work in Kaupapa Māori principles (by Māori, with Māori, for Māori).  The karu o te kanohi represents the work that OCANZ and optometrists undertake by looking deep into people's eyes.  The artwork is made up of five layers that have been intentionally designed and woven together to showcase Māori symbology, strength and story.

The central element of the artwork is the karu/whatu o te kanohi which is made up of three intricate layers (karu |centre, wē | middle and rāwaho | outer).  Each line and curve is powerfully symbolic and representative of Māori design.  Behind the karu o te kanohi is the fourth layer, the kowhaiwhai design which represents Te Ao Hurihuri, the ever-changing world. The fifth layer is the background colours and the blending red into blue.  Red symbolises nobility in the Māori world. The blue has been used to symbolise the colour of OCANZ.  It can also represent the water (sea) that flows between Australia and Aotearoa, where the two cultures (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Māori) meet.

About the artist 


Graham Tipene (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Haua, Ngāti Manu) Kaiurungi / Lead Designer Te Wheke Moko Design Studio