Lost Tales: Walking with Gods Sydney – Photo Gallery

Hi All,

Last night we opened the exhibition in Surry Hills (450 Elizabeth St) with some good wine, great friends and nice music.

Enjoy the pics below, exhibition runs till the 13th. Please pop in a see me anytime, I’ll be open 12noon till 9pm 7 days.

Big thank you to everyone that could make the opening and of course to Tracy Askew for taking some gorgeous pictures.

IMG_2469
Face ov Evyl behind a standing stone
IMG_2468
New installation work with sand design
IMG_2467
New installation work with sand design
IMG_2476
New installation work with sand design
IMG_2461
Jhuny Boy-Borja modelling a Mythopoeic T-Shirt
IMG_2474
New installation work with sand design
IMG_2472
Darc Ridjerul
27540346_10155054655397540_5404599664423352480_n
God who walks amongst us behind a standing stone with cow skull
27332288_10155054655302540_6787901915961440116_n
Opening night
IMG_2470
Room sheet

Short story: Stockpiles

For the last couple of years in between working the Sydney Opera House and painting I have been slowly working on a book. The genre is a little hard to pin down… It is a little like a fantasy novel, a detective story, a political manifesto and an Indigenous fable all rolled into one.  It is set in Australia and in the story the gods are all real and interact with people. So are the creatures form Aboriginal lore. Quinkins, min min lights, medicine men (and women) are all real and interact with us on a daily basis even if we don’t know they’re there. It’s a world that I’ve been creating to tell stories in. All of the characters from my paintings also come from the same world and I’ve started putting together the rules and mechanics to play a RPG in the world.

Anyway with all of the commentary around January 26th and the rallies that have been going on I wanted to share a short excerpt from the book. This section is one of the interludes from the larger story and is titled Stockpiles.

Have a read and let me know what you think… This section is still in draft for so please be nice.

A statue is vandalised in the park of an outer Sydney suburb, directly across from the council chambers. The security cameras didn’t record anything, it is as though the graffiti appeared in an instant or they were hacked and erased.

In blood red paint the words MURDERER, JUSTICE and STOLEN is sprayed across concrete and brass. The head of Admiral Arthur Phillip lays disfigured on the ground at the base of the statue, the brass twisted and torn, seemingly wrenched from the neck. A stylised representation of the Aboriginal flag is painted directly over the original plaque.

Reports in newspapers and websites are all full of opinions and very little factual information. On message boards hundreds of people argue about whether or not it should have been done and what should be done about it. Most of the commentary leaves little doubt as to who they believe the culprit is. People are angry and emotions run hot. Other people are tired of being controlled.

….

A young dark skinned girl travelling on the train with her friend is stalked, abused and beaten by a group of young white men. She is fifteen, only trying to get home after school.

A rally is held on the streets of every major city in Australia. Some media reports tell that a record number of people attended peaceful, ideological protests. Another media outlet focuses instead on one rally organiser’s speech detailing the need to tear down more statues and burn flags. 

Outside the large country town of Moree a group of young men and women have been meeting in secret. In these meetings they talk about the world they live in and what they believe needs to be done. They meet away from technology and they don’t speak of their meeting over the phone or via electronic message in the fear that they are being monitored or will be discovered.

“Every government that this country has ever had is complicit in this, they are all a party to the slaughter and the trauma that happened, that continues to happen. None have their hands are clean. Dirty hands, stained, red. Some dry, the blood dust etched into the lines and cracks of their palms, for others the blood is still wet and continues to pool everyday. They are all complicit and they must answer for that guilt, the payback ceremony must happen”. 

They are a church. They call themselves the Warriors for Indigenous Light and Lore or W.I.L.L. Their leader is a man in his mid-thirties, with dark hair, light skin and unmistakably aboriginal features. He goes by the name Col. Rumours surround him yet the group trusts and follows him without question. To some of the members of W.I.L.L. he is bold yet arrogant, a bull of a man who knows how to get his own way no matter the cost, the one who will lead them all to a better life. To others he is compassionate, caring and exemplary of what a man should be. To all of them he is inspiring. They all believe that he will be the one to change the shape of the society they have lived in. The society they have never felt a part of. 

Col preaches using the old ways in a new world. Their ancestors staged a resistance when the first ships came. With spears and clubs that were never going to match the superior firepower of the oppressors and yet they survived. They are the legacy of that resistance. They way he tells it, in his sermons, now it is time for them to begin mobilising.

The group, instructed by Col, have built connections with a wide criminal network and have been slowly, and now with more fervour, stockpiling weapons. It began with rifles and pistols, and moved on to illegally importing automatic firearms, explosives and riot gear. It is held in the farmhouse of an old cotton field where many of the members of W.I.L.L. worked at one point. The sheds, barns and house are full of secret rooms, barricaded and fortified, ready for the war to begin. They train at night in guerrilla battle tactics, siege strategy and hand t combat.

“There is a war coming on the not too distant horizon, this will be a war like no other our people have ever fought. We represent the will of our people. No longer will our land be used and cast aside. We represent the land and fight for her. She cannot fight for herself. There is a war coming and you my family must decide which side we are to be on”.
Thanks for reading guys, again give me a yell and let me know what you think about this excerpt. To clarify my position on the January 26th conversation is that I believe the date could easily and should change. I don’t believe in going to the rallies as when I have gone to them there were so many people there who believed completely differently and I felt like the issue is hijacked by so many parasitic agendas. I choose to tackle the problem in a different way.  I spoke to a friend about it yesterday and decided to release this.

If you’re interested in more little sneak previews you can head on over to my Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/travisdevries and pledge some support or buy a T-shirt right here in my online store. Each sale helps me keep making art.

Featured Image is borrowed/ stolen from abc.net.au…
Please don’t sue me

Announce… Lost Tales: Walking with Gods comes to Sydney

Fresh off the back of a debut at Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre and the Scottish International Storytelling Centre Lost Tales: Walking with Gods will come the m2 Gallery in Surry Hills from the 1st to the 13th of February.

Lost-Tales-0683.jpg

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.

Lost-Tales-0704.jpg

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.

lost-tales-0684.jpg

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 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 sleep town didn’t know what to do. Children began to disappear from their beds. The parent 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

m2 Gallery
5/450 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010

Sales and pre-sales:
Shae Constantine
shae@fostered.com.au

Lost Tales – International… Part 1

Okay, so let me start by saying this should have gone up on here at a few weeks earlier. I have just been way to busy (which is great) to be able to get some me time to write this (which is bad). We’re here now though so it’s all going to be ok.

Travis De Vries and Cat, Edinburg 17.10.2017
Travis and Cat Edinburgh – Image credit: Brad Franks 2017

A few weeks ago I arrived back on Australian soil after a whole month overseas exhibiting my work, performing my live show and researching my next major work. It was an incredibly amazing experience that I’m going to go into depth in now and share it with you. Too much happened to do it all in one post so today we’ll be looking at the storytelling and the exhibition in Edinburgh and then next week we’ll talk about a few other sweet things like Paris, Loch Ness and searching for my Scottish ancestors with my Dad and partner: Cloé.

 

So… Let’s start at the beginning, last year when on the ACCELERATE Leadership program in the UK I travelled to Edinburgh, Scotland and met Donald Smith from Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland. We really hit it off over a coffee and I managed to speak to him about the work I am doing with my storytelling and we spoke about me coming back to Edinburgh for the Scottish International Storytelling festival in 2017. Which I obviously jumped at the chance to be a part of.

_DSC0275
Jet lagged atop The Crags above Holyrood Castle, Edinburgh – Image Credit: Cloé Fournier 2017

Scottish International Storytelling Festival

 

After a week of rehearsing with local Glasgow based cellist: Maya Burman Roy (who is quite frankly amazing), drinking Edinburgh bars and wandering the countryside I opened the Scottish International Storytelling Festival with my work: Lost Tales Live. It was one of the most difficult shows I have ever performed.

My work is, by its very nature, intrinsically tied to Australia. There are references that the average Scottish audience may not understand and this played on my mind throughout the rehearsals. At the beginning of the performance I removed my shoes, glanced first at Maya and then around the room at the packed theatre, I breathed deeply and trusted myself. I didn’t manage to get any pictures or video of this performance but stay tuned as there will be more exciting things coming up.

The performance was exhilarating. I perform the work with live, improvised cello. The musician and I finding a groove between their music and my words and somehow it just works. Magic happens. The audience received it well and I had many great conversations with people over the next week. The other storytellers at the festival had lots of amazing feedback.

Storytellers and the Storytelling festival opened my eyes to a whole new artistic world and it’s making an exciting impact on my work at the moment. In Australia, storytelling isn’t something that we really take seriously, over in Scotland and in Europe though it is a vibrant and incredible artistic movement with the power to create change in society. I think that particularly in Australia the storyteller and the artist have a huge role to play in the future of society, it’s all about finding how to facilitate that. More to come on this later…

Exhibition

Travis De Vries and his exhibition in Edinburgh prior to the opening of the show and The Edinburgh Short Story Festival at which Travis is opening story teller.
Travis De Vries and his exhibition at the Storytelling Centre Edinburgh – Image Credit Brad Frank 2017

As part of the festival I was invited to exhibit the paintings that accompany the live work. Unfortunately I was unable to bring the whole exhibition as the space just wouldn’t be able to fit them all.

 

I selected four of my favourite works from Lost Tales: Walking with Gods to tour with me to Scotland and Donal Smith opened the exhibition (and the festival) with speeches in front of the exhibition. Travis painting: performance in the Scottish Storytelling Centre, EdinburghTravis painting: performance in the Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh

 

 

IMG_1768

It was really well received, I spent ten days having great conversations with locals and international visitors to Edinburgh about my work, gods and the nature of culture in the modern age.

I also did some live painting in the festival centre on huge sheets of beautiful art paper. They were not my best work, I wasn’t using my normal medium of oils and canvas. It was an interesting experience though, painting in this amazing space in the centre of Edinburgh with tourists and locals coming in off the Royal Mile and speaking to me was actually kind of surreal. After the painting session I donated the rest of the paper and the paints to some local kids who had been watching me the whole time (3 hours of watching paint dry). 

IMG_1925

Well that is it for now for the exhibition and live show. Check out some more of the pictures below and hit me up with any questions you have!

Thank you to the Australia Council for the Arts and Create NSW for helping to make this happen, funding the project. And of course a very large thank you to Donald Smith and the Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland for engaging with me and my art in a meaningful way.

_DSC0282
Brad and Travis climb the crags – Image Credit: Cloé Fournier 2017
IMG_1766
Artist statement on the wall! Hells Yes.
_DSC0218
Tired Travis standing on head. Scottish Modern Gallery – Image Credit: Cloé Fournier 2017

_DSC0553.JPG
Next week: exciting tales to come

 

Scottish International Storytelling Festival // Lost Tales Live

In October of this year I will be travelling to the city of stories, Edinburgh to participate in the Scottish International Storytelling Festival with my live show Lost Tales Live

The Edinburgh Castleand my exhibition Walking with Gods. This is a festival that combines the local wee folk magic with storytelling artists from all over the world.

19679274_10154914115444613_2844727637635969867_o

For me this is a big thing. It will be the first time I take my either my live show or an exhibition international and I am really exciting by the opportunity. I visited Edinburgh last year during a UK trip as part of the British Council’s ACCELERATE Program and it was really by chance that I met with Donald, the curator for the festival. We had a coffeee and I told him all about the project and now I’m presenitng the work in the festival.

After I performed Lost Tales Live at the Australia Museum earlier in the year I had a couple of people come up to and say I was like an Aboriginal Neil Gaiman or Grant Morrison. For me to be able to channel either of those amazing artists during a performance was really spectacular, to also be able to tap into my rich Gamilaroi heritage was even more important. To then be able to take that to Edinburgh and reach an international audience is mind-blowing.

Marking the 70th anniversary of Edinburgh as a Festival City, SISF is going global and
demonstrating how the traditional art of storytelling is more vital than ever in connecting people worldwide, across cultures, places and generations.

For twelve days of storytelling events in Edinburgh and across
Scotland, and a three-day Global Gathering of discussions
around the themes of the Earth Charter I’ll be participating as an active storyteller, bringing a First Nations Australian voice to the gathering.

Full program available here: http://www.tracscotland.org/sites/default/files/SISF%202017%20-%20Advance%20Programme_0.pdf

Cue Streamers, 3. 2. 1. Announcement time…

 

Hey!

Coming up in July is my first ever solo exhibition. Lost Tales: Walking with Gods at the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre, here’s the blurb.

Multidisciplinary artist, writer and creator Travis De Vries’ upcoming collection of work borrows and twists the tropes of mythology, graphic novels and traditional story telling to reimagine the stories of Australia’s First People.

A collection of new paintings, stitched together in a wall-to-wall tapestry, with prose, sculptural and audio-visual elements; Lost Tales: Walking with Gods is an opportunity to engage and experience aeons old stories in a completely new light. These works echo the studies of Joseph Campbell or the worlds of Neil Gaiman, they will resonate deep in the heart of the Australian psyche through our connection to the myths and legends of the Indigenous people; gods, demons and creature that haunt us and the clash these ideas have with the more recent western mythologies to come to Australia.

“I am creating new mythologies that grow and change all the time. Presented as a whole; each painting is connected to all of the other and together they form a story set in the small town of Glen Innes in northern New South Wales. You’ll see motifs from the local area and in this exhibition I explore the idea of gods from both western and Australian Indigenous pantheon mixing with each other and the local populace. This is a look inside the worlds that exist in my head, a sprawling place where all manner of creature from our psyche runs rampant. A god from one of the Norse pantheons has hitched ride to Australia at some time in the last couple of centuries. Whilst here though he has been in a fight with a local deity and now has amnesia, he can’t remember that he is a god. All the memories he has are hints and flashes from the old days, mostly rituals and sacrifices and that is slowly sending him insane. He wants to remember and he begins to act out the flashes of memory that he has by kidnapping local children and performing ceremonies. It’s dark, a little disturbing but I love the play between the local mythology and the introduction of western mythologies, and I love to see what happens when these things mix.”

Stay tuned, I’ll be posting some works in progress in the upcoming weeks as it gets closer to exhibition time.

Opening night 6pm Friday 7 July 2017

8 July – 27 August 2017 

For more details head on over to any of these places:
Fostered Artist Management

Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre

Facebook Event Page

Image: Darc Ridjerul, 2017, Oil on canvas

Darc Ridjerul

cropped-image1-5.jpg

I wanted to take a moment to share some background about my new painting Darc Ridjerul after having a conversation with my partner Cloé.

The work is part of the larger exhibition Lost Tales – Walking with Gods that will be debuting later this year at the Muswellbrook Arts Centre. I guess to talk about this specific work I need to give a quick overview on the exhibition as a whole.

Lost Tales: Walking with Gods is an exploration of the aeons old stories of Australia’s First Nation people in a completely new light. In a way these works echo the studies of Joseph Campbell or the worlds of Neil Gaiman, through the connection to the myths and legends of the Indigenous people; gods, demons and creatures and utilising these beings to tell new stories or to re-visit old stories in a way that continues to make sense of them in a contemporary light. The exhibition tells a story of a Celtic god that has come over to Australia and has found a set of standing stones in the small NSW country town of Glen Innes that mirrors stone henge. The problem is that he doesn’t remember that he is a god, he has flashes of insight, of power and visions of ceremonies. He wants to get that power back and as he slowly goes mad he begins to steal children from the local populace and performs his own ceremonies as much as he can remember. Suffice it to say he is slowly going mad.

So that’s the overview of the exhibition now into this work: Darc Ridjerul.

image1-5

The first thing you notice when you look at Darc Ridjerul in the flesh is that it is large and then you notice the blood. The blood is flowing from the heads and arms of three figures and it appears to be pooled at their feet or painted the rock that they are leaning (or tied) against.

Let’s forget the blood for a moment, I want to talk about the figures. Firstly there are three of them. For me this is an echo of very particularly myths that have elements that are universal. The three sisters (Australia), the three fates or Morai (Greece) and the three god brothers Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. There are tons of these things that crop up as you delve into different lore over the world. For me they all have one thing in common, in every story or legend they draw strength when the three are together but when they are split apart they lose, evil triumphs and the world is a scary place.

In Darc Ridjerul the three figures are young boys however they look like they could be old men and this is the interesting part. Something has obviously happened to them, they are twisted and they are tormented, their faces and fixed in silent screams of pain and anger but they are still together. They are in their own way still strong.

In the overarching storyline of this work the three figures have been/ are being sacrificed by a god in his attempt to regain his power. He has captured them, tortured them and now is draining them of their blood, but he also changed them. They are becoming twisted and are growing into something more just flesh; they are becoming symbols.

Finding the standing stones recreated in this small country town in Australia was incredibly mind opening. It was like the people that had migrated here had brought that part of their old world with them, needing to re-erect in this strange new land. Needing that symbol to feel at home.

For me, it is the symbol that is important.