Travis De Vries | Winner of this year’s NSW Aboriginal Arts Fellowship

Create NSW is the recently established government arts and cultural entity that provides support through infrastructure and funding programs to the area of arts, screen and culture. The ‘NSW Aboriginal Arts Fellowship’ represents the annual opportunity for an Indigenous artist to develop their professional practice by receiving $50,000 funding. Five such grants are offered each year as part of the ten-year NSW Arts and Cultural Policy Framework – Create in NSW. This year Travis De Vries has been selected as the recipient of this grant.

Travis De Vries, NSW 2016 Accelerate recipient. Photograph: Mark Gambino, British Council. Courtesy Create NSW, Sydney

Sydney-based artist Travis De Vries’ career, since 2006, spans across performance, producing, writing, music and painting. Often there is a focus on gods and creatures from native and European mythology depicted in his distinct contemporary style and influenced by writers and researchers on this topic including, Joseph Campbell Neil Gaiman. De Vries is also interested in the intersection between cultures and his paintings, as an extension of deeply ingrained cultural myths are intended to resonate with audiences.

Travis De Vries, Darc Ridjual, 2017, oil on canvas. Courtesy the artist and Create NSW

Create NSW’s CEO Michael Brealey says, ‘Through careful research and experimentation, Travis is able to interpret Aboriginal culture, bringing it to life with a standout graphic style that appeals to both western and contemporary Indigenous audiences. He has a very interesting project ahead of him and we’re excited to see the works he will unveil in 2019.’

With this funding De Vries plans to undertake a residency at the Australian Museum during 2018 to explore Gamilaroi language and lore. The resulting work from this will be featured at Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre in 2019. Brealey highlights the significance of the fellowship by saying, ‘We are passionate about supporting NSW’s Aboriginal artists and creating new opportunities for their growth and development across the state. We are delighted that Travis will follow past recipients such as author and arts leader Cathy Craigie and theatre producer and curator Andrea James in accepting this Fellowship.’