Opening night : Thursday the 1st of February
6 - 9pm
Lost Tales: Walking with Gods is Travis De Vries’ collection of Indigenous Contemporary artwork exploring a modern application of folk tales, particularly those involving the gods, demons and creatures from Australian Indigenous lore. The concept is the melting pot of ideas between western mythologies and Aboriginal spirituality, a relatively new combination when placed against the 40,000+ years of Australian cultural history.
As a Gamilaroi man, Travis is particularly interested in reinterpreting stories from the legacy of his ancient tribal group. The recreation of these myths echoes the studies of Joseph Campbell or the expansive worlds of Neil Gaiman. These stories and the related paintings resonate from some deep root of human psyche that reaches back through antiquity into the modern world. There is a fusion when two cultures exist together, an ebb and flow of ideas and belief or the violent clash of opposing ideals.
Deep in New South Wales, Australia is the town of Glen Innes. Glen Innes has a surprisingly large Celtic population who have built monuments to their Scottish heritage. This includes a modern recreation of Stonehenge placed on top of a mountain nearby the town. Members of the local Aboriginal tribe: the Gamilaroi people have continued their eons old ceremonies atop the mountain. It is this very mix of cultures and mythologies that is explored in Lost Tales: Walking with Gods.
When the Celtic people came to Australia, they didn’t just bring themselves; they brought with them their beliefs and with their beliefs came their gods.
The god Baleros no longer remembers who he was. He still felt the power, however he no longer knows what it means and what he is meant to do with it. He remembers ceremonies; flashes of fire, people dancing around stones wearing masks of animal skin, thick red blood being spilt upon the ground, split in his name. Now, he no longer remembers his name.
This land had taken much from him but it would not take his power. He still held that within, he just no longer knew what to do with it.
When the abductions began the small sleepy town didn’t know what to do. Children began to disappear from their beds. The parents found them later atop the hill, shaking, twisted, unable to speak other than to say: Bal-er-os. That was until they no longer found the children alive; only shallow pits dug for graves with small twisted bodies within.
They had become abominations, used for rituals by a god that no longer remembered who he was. Biame, sky god of the Gamilaroi had no choice but to intervene…
Lost Tales: Walking with Gods debuted at the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre, four works from the collection recently toured to Edinburgh Scotland for an exhibition as part of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival
TRAVIS DE VRIES BIO:
A creator of dark fiction and graphic artwork, Travis is a multidisciplinary performer, writer and painter with a rich background in visual arts and Indigenous culture. Spending a majority of time in his own head, Travis creates worlds within worlds, brings to life characters on the page and canvas from his ever growing, fantasy, parallel universe.
Travis has most recently been a finalist in the Muswellbrook Art Prize (2017) and is also held as part of the collection there. He also has been a part of multiple touring exhibitions as a finalist of the NSW Parliament Aboriginal Art Prize (2015) (2013) He is an alumni of the British Council’s Accelerate program for cultural leadership and is recently returned from Scotland where he performed his live performance work and had an exhibition as part of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival.