TRAIL BLAZERS: Wayne Martin of Nguram-Bang Aboriginal Art alongisde Johnathon Thurston presenting the design of the 2019 NRL premiership rings.
TRAIL BLAZERS: Wayne Martin of Nguram-Bang Aboriginal Art alongisde Johnathon Thurston presenting the design of the 2019 NRL premiership rings.

CQ couple carve out big piece of grand final ring

FROM their quiet little town to the NRL grand final and shaking the hand of Johnathon Thurston, Wayne and Danielle Martin from Theodore have been on quite the journey.

The Martin’s were hand-picked by Johnathon Thurston himself to assist in the design of the 2019 NRL premiership rings.

Having just started their home art business, Nguram-Bang Aboriginal Art in March this year, the Martin’s business is booming with interest in the artwork of Wayne Martin.

Mrs Martin said it was thanks to connections with a local mining company that kickstarted this opportunity to design the rings.

“It was through connections with Evolution Mining in Cracow as they were providing the gold for the ring,” Mrs Martin said.

“Wayne’s name was mentioned as an artist and it went from there.

“We had Johnathon contact us and the jeweller making the ring did as well and things went from there.

“Because they wanted somewhere close to Thurstons’ home to source the gold and this mine was closest to his hometown of Mitchell.”

Thurston was the first player to have put his touch on the grand final ring, and he wanted to integrate a piece of home into the ring design, as a sign of respect and acknowledgment to his home, the Gungarri tribe.

Thurston and his tribal elders told Mr Martin their vision for the design, and so Mr Martin based the design around the emu totem which represents Thurston’s family.

“We’ve got the emu as it’s his family totem, it represents his family, his travels, his and his family’s journey and that they always come back home to the country,” Mrs Martin said.

“It was special for us but also for Johnathon Thurston’s family, himself and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders that are a part of the NRL.”

The Martins sent the design to Thurston in August who ‘loved it’ before completing their journey.

TRAIL BLAZERS: Wayne Martin of Nguram-Bang Aboriginal Art alongisde Johnathon Thurston presenting the design of the 2019 NRL premiership rings.
TRAIL BLAZERS: Wayne Martin of Nguram-Bang Aboriginal Art alongisde Johnathon Thurston presenting the design of the 2019 NRL premiership rings.

“We travelled down to Sydney for the NRL grand final and met with Thurston and Affinity Diamonds founder Sam Rahme,” Mrs Martin said.

“We presented JT with the original artwork and he will be hanging it in his trophy room.

“We also presented Sam Rahme with a carved emu egg as a gift from Nguram-Bang Aboriginal Art.”

The Martins are eternally grateful for this opportunity.

“It was nice Johnathon Thurston decided to go with someone from a small community and a new business,” Mrs Martin said.

“It was a good boost for us and the small community we are in.”

Mrs martin handles the administration of the business whilst Mr Martin can paint anything from canvas art, football shoes, guitars and is also starting to make artefacts like spears and shields.

Each white gold ring is valued at $10,000 and is months in the making with Thurston having begun his designs earlier this year.

The rings feature two carat’s of both black and white diamonds that number 150 in total on each piece.

To find more of the Martin’s artwork head to ‘Nguram-Bang Aboriginal Art’ Facebook page.

The NRL and Evolution Mining will gift the local indigenous population an equivalent amount to the value of the gold sourced from the land.



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