I am a Baranbinja – Ngamba man from Brewarrina, New South Wales. My mother is NSW, my father is VIC, my earliest memory is the red desert earth, the beautiful sunsets and my elders. Since then I’ve now spent three-quarters of my life in prisons rebelling against everything life has thrown at me. Being angry with those who’ve used me, those who abused me and those who put me here, since I was two, I have been a ward state child was a victim of abuse, I’m a part of REDRESS, my life was the institution.
It’s taken me a long time to realise the only person to blame is me and the choices I’ve made. I somehow had it in my mind that stealing from people was the same as taking from us. I could easily justify it as retribution and payback for stealing our land and cultural identity.
In prison in 1989, I met an elder Muma Shirl (Shirley Smith) who was interested in my art. She applied for an arts council grant to help me buy art materials for when I was released which gave me $2,500. I went to Queanbeyan to a local cooperative which helped set up a studio in my back shed. After being robbed by then for half of my grant, I started work at Queanbeyan TAFE as a art teacher, which helped ease the pain of my own mob stealing from me. I spent one year teaching Arts and Cultural Awareness programs and have continued to teach these throughout my journey.
My dreamtime art is founded on stories handed down from my elders. The stories surrounding Bai amee are central to the kinship of the Baranbinja and Ngemba tribes of the Brewarrina region of New South Wales. I have researched historical documents and language groups related to Bai amee, along with his wives and sons, who all share the creation stories related to country and culture. I feel proud to have discovered this information including the stories and history of Bai amee’s family and where his journey began.
I have continued to keep painting anywhere, wherever I could find a space and materials to support my passion.
I am a member of the Indigenous Art Code.
During my most recent incarceration I have developed a digital portfolio of Indigenous art templates that I plan to utilise to establish a small business. Also development of a organisation to set up skill share programs and workshops for all koori on walkabout.
- SOLO EXHIBITION, DEAKIN UNIVERSITY, APRIL 2019
- METRO GALLERY GROUP SHOW, MARCH 2019
- TORCH GALLERY GROUP SHOW, CURATED BY KENT MORRIS, 2018 & 2019
- KOORIE HERITAGE TRUST GROUP SHOW, ARTS FEDERATION SQUARE, VIC 2018 & 2019
- DESERT ART, CURATED BY ANDY KING, KALGOORLIE W.A 2001
- NAIDOC WEEK CELEBRATION, PERCY TUCKER REGIONAL GALLERY, CURATED BY FRANCES THOMSON, 2009
- COOEE GALLERY, URBAN ARTS GROUP SHOW, BONDI SYDNEY 1989
RECIPIENT OF AUSTRALIAN ARTS COUNCIL GRANT, 1992 ASSISTED BY MUMA SHIRL (SHIRLEY SMITH).