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: 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 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


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.

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…


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




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). 


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.

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

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.


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:

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



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


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.


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.



Lost Tales

I will have a debut showing of my new live storytelling work: Lost Tales at the Australian Museum in Sydney on the 25th January.

Sessions are at 6.40 and 7.40pm in the Science Room as part of the Australian Museum’s Up Late series.

Join me for an intimate evening of original tales based on traditional Indigenous storytelling. I’ll be constructing a tapestry of imagination featuring a suite of gods, monsters and mega fauna.



Earlier in the year I was fortunate enough to be accepted into a program run by the British Council called ACCELERATE. It’s a leadership development program aimed at developing new leaders in the Australian Indigenous Arts and Culture sector.

I’ve now hit the ground in London and have begun the first leg of the program. Whilst here I’ll be meeting with people and organisations in London, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newcastle talking about art and all things creative.

I’ll be updating this page with my thoughts, feeling and observations from my time here, follow along as you like.


Exhibiting in NSW Parliament Art Prize

I currently have a piece of work on display as part of the NSW Parliament Arts Prize at Gallery Lane Cove. You can grab the details here:
The show runs from 6th – 30th July 2016.
If you are in the area and have a chance to check it out, you can let me know what you think or you can just see it in digital form below. Let me know what you think in the comments below. Triptych - Travis De Vries (NSW Parliament)

New Project – Mythological Evolutions

Mythological Evolutions steals, begs and borrows from Australian Indigenous traditional storytelling and forces it into the contemporary world. The project aims to create an evolving narrative of stories utilizing the rich heritage of the Australian Indigenous psyche. Characters from “mythology” will be thrust into a modern setting through text, image and sound based works, interacting characters and building on the idea of Indigenous identity, storytelling and a strong cultural heritage of lore.

Watch this space for more updates…