OPENING NIGHT: 5 – 7PM FRIDAY 16 JUNE
ARTIST IN CONVERSATION: ANTHONY J. WALKER WITH ROBERT APPO, 2PM SATURDAY 24 JUNE more info here
Cavanbah is a solo exhibition by Yiman, Ghungalu, Gurreng Gurreng artist, long-time Byron Bay resident, and former Indigenous Park Ranger Anthony J. Walker.
The central theme of the exhibition is the concept of ‘caring for Country’. Drawing from his training as a Park Ranger, Walker brings his deep-rooted appreciation for the environment and his firsthand experiences of ‘caring for Country’ to life on the canvas. Through vibrant paintings that vividly express his impression of the Northern Rivers region, particularly the region’s recognisable coastline, Walker invites us to reflect on our own relationship with the area’s land, sea, and waterways.
Within the brightly-coloured paintings, traditional First Nations iconography seamlessly intertwines with figurative depictions of local landscapes – offering a unique view of familiar vistas through a First Nations lens. The chevron patterning is inspired by engravings on message sticks from Walker’s grandparents’ Country. The blue drips visually connects the sky, land, and sea, symbolising the interdependence of these natural elements. This technique, combined with the delicate patterning, serves as a powerful metaphor urging us to recognise the fragile balance and precious harmony that sustains our environment.
As a First Nations landscape artist, Walker’s work challenges the historical narrative of landscape painting and reclaims the genre from its colonial origins – when it served as a tool for mapping and invasion—transforming it into a powerful medium for reconnecting to Country. Walker invites us to rediscover the profound beauty and significance of the region through these evocative and vibrant seascapes. By immersion in the works, we are encouraged to reconnect with the natural world, embrace our roles as environmental stewards, and actively contribute to safeguarding the ancient landscapes we inhabit, following in the footsteps of the First Nations custodians who have cared for Country for millennia.
Artworks created & presented on Arakwal Country, Bundjalung Nation.
Anthony J. Walker is an award-winning artist from the Yiman, Ghungalu and Gurreng Gurreng peoples of Central Queensland. Through his work, Walker engages with the natural environment and expresses his inner connection to the landscape.
Having originally trained as a Park Ranger, Walker seeks to raise awareness about the preservation of native flora and fauna. Growing up on the Sunshine Coast and living in Byron Bay for around 30 years, Walker draws inspiration from the landscape and coastlines of Southern Queensland, Northern New South Wales and his grandparents’ Country.
Walker’s work has been critically acclaimed for its light-hearted design that seamlessly fuses vibrant colours with dynamic movement. His many achievements include winning the Bluethumb Art Prize Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Award, participating in Wesfarmers Indigenous Arts Leadership Program (National Gallery of Australia), undertaking a curatorial residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney), winning the Gold Coast Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, and a solo exhibition at Melbourne’s Koorie Heritage Trust Centre.
Walker previously served as the Indigenous Arts Development Officer for Arts Northern Rivers, and the Aboriginal Arts Development Officer for Regional Arts NSW. In 2020 he established the art and design brand Milbi Designs.