Dylan is a Proud Yorta Yorta Man with direct bloodlines to Ulupna Island and its people and is a direct descendant from Truganini (Grand Mother 4 generations ago).
Dylan grew up in Shepparton and spent many years with family at Cummeragunja (Barmah). He learnt how to get Bardi Grubs with his Grand Dad who passed away when Dylan was four years old. Dylan learned the majority of what he knows about his culture from his Uncle (Mum’s Brother) and Dylan maintains this learning relationship now. Dylan says ‘When I was younger, I spent a lot of time at the Charles/Walker bend of Dungala (Murry River) second on the left hand side! – going to the ochre mines was a really spiritual experience for me and also going to the sandhills where our law and initiation took place over time.’ My Great Grandmother Violet Briggs was also a well known landscape painter – she liked to paint the gum tress and the bush.
Dylan’s journey in making art started when he was in grade 5 after his teacher entered his artwork of a Man’s face which referenced Picasso’s cubist style into an art show where he won first prize. Dylan proudly remembers ‘I won a $1,000. Voucher and a huge set of professional pencils which allowed me to create more art and I still have most of the pencil sets’. When Dylan was in year 7, he learned how to make traditional clap sticks and learned how to burn designs onto them – His Uncle taught him the traditional markings, signs and symbols. Dylan has been privileged to learn about his ancestors and their traditional country; ‘My Uncle showed me the possum skin cloak and the clan symbols, explaining the boundaries and the different markings. He then took me to a place where a tree had been altered by using a twine to combine two branches to create a hollow circle as a boundary marker.’
Currently Dylan is completing a Certificate 111 in Visual Arts and has been a member artist at Kaiela Arts for a few years. He now paints and creates on a daily basis, driven by the need to express his culture and his passion for the arts in a lively a contemporary way.
Dylan is hungry for learning about other artists and has always loved book, particularly Picasso and Van Gogh who he refers to often. ‘They inspire me greatly. My biggest inspiration is Albert Namatjirra and the works of his family.’