Walking with Gods is a continuation of the work I have been exploring involving a modern application of folk tales, particularly those involving the gods, demons and creatures from Australian Indigenous Lore.
As a Gamilaroi man, I am particularly interested in reinterpreting those stories from the legacy of my ancient tribal group. For me, recreating 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 our 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.
I am exploring the melting pot of ideas in the intersection of western mythologies with Aboriginal spirituality that is a relatively new combination when placed against the 40,000+ year of Australian cultural history.
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. I have visited the place many times and I find the area is incredibly eerie. 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 I explore 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 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 premiered at the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre in July 2017.
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 Innis 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.
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.
Lost Tales: Walking with Gods is available for tour from September 2017. A full room list is available upon contact.
Please contact FOSTERED Artist Management for any enquiries.
This project was assisted by a grant from Create NSW, an agency of the New South Wales Government and supported by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian State and Territory Governments. The program is administered by the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA).