My Heart, My Country – The Story Behind the 2018 Festival Design


We believe that expressing our inner worlds through poetry and story is vital to our wellbeing.

With that in mind, the 2018 Queensland Poetry Festival will explore health and healing in the context of poetry and storytelling.

To help convey our vision for the 2018 Festival, we commissioned artist Riki Salam of We are 27, to create a bespoke artwork in response to our theme, Vital Signs: The Healing Power of Story. Born and raised in Cairns on Yidindji land, Riki has connections to Muralag, Kala Lagaw Ya, Meriam Mer, Kuku Yalanji peoples on his father’s side and the Ngai Tahu people in the South Island of New Zealand on his mother’s side.

In his artwork, ‘My Heart, My Country’, Riki looks at country from different perspectives, both at the macro and micro levels. This artwork brings together both individuals and communities and reflects on how they all work in synchronicity. The patch work of patterns indicate markings of country, plants for healing, flowers in bloom indicate what food sources are available. The sun, the moon and the stars indicate when to plant and harvest. Body and our spirits are connected to the land with human heart infused in the landscape.

We are the heart beat, together, connected to this
Shaping, shifting, changing, moving, flowing –
seasons guide our way.
Meandering across the landscape, words are
Seed cracks, flowers bloom, charcoal black – country
is renewed.
Knowledge is gained, we are healed, this land is alive
in celebration.

Riki Salam – My Heart My Country

Join us at QPF 2018 for four days of readings, workshops, panels, book launches, author talks, live music, installations, a zine fair and much more.