The Qeej Player for the Hmong Soul


Acrylic on Canvas 77.5 x 118 x 2cm Ready to hang

The Hmong People of Northern Laos were brought to Australia as refugees at least 30 years ago. Located in Innisfail, North Queensland, I was their ethnologist in 2005 to record their cultural codes of marriage, death and funeral rites. After gaining permission, I was able to paint this scene of a drummer, the primary player, and two Qeej players. Their performance is to assist the deceased to return to their homeland so that he/she does not cause harm to the family. The Qeej player dances with a swaying motion to evoke the spirits. The mortuary practices can last up to twelve days where animals are sacrificed, shamans douse with bamboo sticks to receive instruction from the spirits and the community gathers to share food.

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AWARD-WINNING north Queensland painter Pam Schultz has made her mark capturing the tireless efforts of environmental conservationists. Schultz returned to painting full-time after completing a PhD in Environmental Science.

“My upbringing played an important part in my development as an artist and later a scientist. On holidays, our family was taken to wild places that were largely undeveloped. Unfortunately, the pristine places I was privileged to visit then are now changed to accommodate the increasing demands of the public.

These days, Pam sources the help of portrait sitters who volunteer and work in the conservation field such as Dr Ro Hill, Dr Ray Pierce and ethnobotanist Gerry Turpin.

This year, Pam’s work of Dr Ro Hill has been pre-selected for the Percival Portrait Prize worth $40,000. Last year, a first prize in painting was awarded for her portrait “The Ethnobotanist: Gerry Turpin at Yidinji Meeting Place Barney Springs” as well as being pre-selected for the Stanthorpe Portrait Prize in 2018. Her painting “Brown Goshawk at Wollogorang” was pre-selected for The Holmes Art Prize for Excellence in Realistic Australian Bird Art 2019. Alongside portrait work, as an environmental scientist, Pam also works with Dr Ray Pierce and other volunteers on bird surveys and monitoring, trying to work out the state and range of their habitats and why some species are increasing or diminishing, such as the threatened Gouldian and White-bellied Crimson Finches. This work is promoted with her paintings of finches and other birds and proceeds go to  For more information, visit