About Lewis

Lewis Burns is a Tubba-Gah Wiradjuri man born and living in Dubbo, NSW Australia. He has been learning about his Aboriginal Culture for as long as he can remember. He continues to practice and respect these life skills each day and still learns and grows from this ancient knowledge.
Lewis’ love of his heritage is evident when you speak with him, and depicted even more in his Aboriginal crafts, traditional dancing, didgeridoo performances, mural paintings and teaching. He is very dedicated to sharing what he knows with others to help keep these customs alive. Lewis paints in traditional Aboriginal and contemporary styles. He has exhibited globally and performed globally with his handcrafted didgeridoos. Each piece of Lewis’ artwork tells a story…..a story that will live on forever through the generations, as the artwork is handed down from one family to another.

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LEWIS BURNS – CV – (Updated January 2015)

Qualifications;

2014-15 – Building Cultural Competencies in Aboriginal Culture v2 (0936) – Dubbo TAFE Western
2014 – TAELLN411 Address adult Language Literacy & Numeracy Skills – Dubbo TAFE Western
2014 – Cert IV in Business (Governance) – Dubbo TAFE Western
2013 – Diploma in Aboriginal Studies – Dubbo TAFE Western
2013– Statement of Attainment Apply First Aid – Dubbo TAFE Western
2009 – Certificate IV in Training and assessment (TAA) Dubbo TAFE Western
1993 – Statement of Attainment – Small Business Management – Parkes TAFE
WorkCover, Statement of OH&S Induction: Training For Construction Work In NSW.
Training in the PEET (Pathways to Employment Education & Training).

Work Experience

After leaving school – Canobolas High (Orange NSW) 1977 – 1980 – at age 16, I worked until my late 20’s in the construction industry. I have never received unemployment benefits and refused to accept the “dole”. In 1993 I commenced my own business as a didgeridoo crafter; artist, performer and owner of Red Earth gallery.  I have undertaken many school cultural presentations and painted many murals. I have continually expanded my business over the years.
I have owned the Red Earth Gallery since year 2000 and for seven years previously I owned and managed Indidjinart at Dubbo which employed up to 4 local Koori’s at one point.

I was Treasurer of Tubba-Gah (Maing) Wiradjuri Aboriginal Corporation in 2012-2013 and in 2008 was employed as House Parent / Manager of Aboriginal Hostels Ltd in Dubbo. Here I performed all duties involved in accommodating University and TAFE Students as well as managing the finances of the Hostel.

Since 2012 I have been a Director of Tubba-Gah (Maing) Aboriginal Corporation. Formerly known as Wirrimbah Direct Descendants Aboriginal Corporation

Life and Professional Experience

I am a Talbragar-Wiradjuri man born in Dubbo, NSW. Born in Dubbo on the 27th March 1964, I lived on the Talbragar Aboriginal Reserve near Dubbo throughout my early years. From there we moved and I grew up in several towns, up and down the East Coast of Australia. I am an Aboriginal Craftsman, Basic Traditional Dance Instructor, Didgeridoo Player and Performer, Teacher, Mural Painter, Musician and Artist. I have been a practicing Indigenous Artist since 1992 and am dedicated to sharing and spreading the Aboriginal Culture. I am a father of four.

I have been learning about Aboriginal culture for as long as I can remember. I continue to practice and respect these life skills each day and still learn and grow from this ancient knowledge. My love of my heritage is paramount to me and I depict this through my Aboriginal crafts, mixed media artwork, traditional dancing, didgeridoo performances, mural paintings and teaching. I am dedicated to sharing my cultural knowledge with others to help keep the customs alive. I paint in traditional Aboriginal and contemporary styles and have exhibited and performed both within Australia and overseas with my handcrafted didgeridoos. Each piece of my artwork tells a story which I hope will live on forever through the generations, as the artwork is handed down through the generations.

I have been promoting our culture since I started my business in 1993. I have achieved this promotion through art, dance and music involving telling stories through the didgeridoo, mural projects and awareness talks. 2

I am regularly invited to present the culture in schools in the Central West, Sydney Metropolitan Area, across Tasmania as well as having the opportunity to perform and present the culture in other countries such as Japan, USA, Canada, France, Spain, Italy and the UK.

Performances, Exhibitions, Employment and Cultural Exchange include:-

2014 ongoing – Work 2 days per week with Northcott Client with intellectual and physical disabilities.

August 2014 Ongoing – I work 1 day per week with students in the Orana Juvenile Justice Detention Centre, Dubbo.
I teach Aboriginal Art and didjeridoo making as well as mentoring for future direction.

Utes in the Paddock Art Exhibition in Katoomba, November 2009.
Painted and exhibited 10 artworks of a variety of sizes.
Performed in body ochre and full regalia on the opening night and played alongside former Members from ‘Midnight Oil’ and ‘Mental as Anything’.

Cultural exchange in New Zealand, November 2009.
For 5 days in November I was invited and attended the “Australasian Facilitators Conference“, sponsored as an official guest. I presented a number of performances and Cultural presentations as well as conducted a workshop on Australian Aboriginal Traditions. Throughout this conference there was a great deal of cultural exchange and an opportunity to teach and further enhance the knowledge of both Australian and other Australasian people about Australian Aboriginal Culture.

World Indigenous Cultural Festival, “Planet Indigenous”, Toronto Canada, Aug 2009.
I Coordinated the tour from quoting and winning the project to organising dancers, Visas and airfares for the “Doonooch” Dance troop to travel to Canada for live performances and cultural exchange.
I also conducted a number of Didgeridoo making workshops and didje playing sessions.

Didgeridoo making workshops for Koori Kids 2009,
Workshops ran over a number of weeks in conjunction with TAFE NSW & Mission Australia.

March 2009 – Didgeridoo workshops (making and playing) in San Diego and Venice Beach California,

Painted EH Holden Ute – I donated my time for the “Utes in the Paddock” project, April & May 2009.

I have conducted workshops and programs at schools across NSW for over 20 years, educating both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and Teachers about Aboriginal Art and Culture.

Tamworth Country Music Week, January 2009
I was asked to be a part of the Aboriginal Showcase at the “Youthie”, in Tamworth NSW. I was Didgeridoo Player on the float during the street parade and performed at the showcase’s opening ceremony and other performances throughout the week.

Dec 2008 – January 2009 – Workshops at Oolong House Nowra (Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre) teaching didgeridoo making and traditional symbols, this was done in conjunction with good friend and respected culture carrier Bobby McLeod (RIP).

“YABUN” Survival Festival, Sydney, NSW, Australia Day, January 2009 – Performances held throughout the day and had a Display Stall selling my hand crafted didgeridoos and other artworks.

I was asked to audition and later filmed a TV Commercial for Outback Steakhouse in USA. (Filmed in La Perouse), January 2009

Sept. 2008 – Performance and workshops at “InDidjInUs” festival, near Portland Oregon USA.
Organised for 3 dancers from Doonooch Dance group to accompany me,.

August 2008 – “Jammin’ Tree Didgeridoo Festival” Oakhurst, Yosemite National Park California USA;
I conducted Performance and workshops throughout the festival. I also organised 3 dancers from Doonooch Dance group to accompany me to the festival.

Other highlights and recent activities include:-

September 2013 – Cultural Awareness Nura Gili Centre for Indigenous Programs, University of NSW.
September 2013 – Welcome to Country for Aboriginal Housing Office Dubbo.
September 2013 – Perform and presentation for Buninyong Pre-School.
September 2013 – Welcome to Country and performance for Western Interagency Day in the Park, Dubbo.
December 2014 – Performance for Installations Ceremony for Charles Sturt University.
November 2014 – Performances and presentations on msVolendam sailing from Bali to Sydney while circumnavigating Australia and Tasmania.
August 2014 – Performance in Oregon USA at InDidjInUs Didjeridoo garthering.
August 2013 – Tour of west coast of USA presenting Aboriginal culture as well as decorating a vehicle and a Harley Davison motor bike in Aboriginal art and motifs.
2014 – ABC 3 television program called ‘Bushwhacked’ featuring some of my cultural knowledge.

May – June 2013 – Coordinated a 3 week tour of Italy, France and Spain with one elder and one dancer to raise awareness of Australian Aboriginal culture in Europe.

April 2013 – Smoking Ceremony for opening of new Dubbo Rehabilitation Centre.

December 2012 – Coordinated 3 other acts and performed didgeridoo in a free concert at Talbragar Aboriginal Reserve via Dubbo, in support of “Stand up for the Burrup”.

October 2012 – by invitation delivered Aboriginal cultural presentations including performances, murals, cultural awareness seminars and other Aboriginal cultural practices in several schools across Tasmania.

2012- Performed or Presented Culture at a Smoking Ceremony and Traditional Welcome to Country at the Opening and Launch of Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol. Feb 24th – Opening of my March 2013 Exhibition “From the Edge of the Outback” at Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-Op, Flood Street Leichhardt NSW.

Sept 2011 – Three weeks tour schools in Tasmania.

Sept 2011 – Indigenous Family Fun Day Dubbo NSW Performance

Sept 2011 – Performance at “Red Ochre Festival”, Dubbo NSW 1999.

My first trip out of the country was to USA to perform in Phoenix AZ at “Whole life Expo”. Since then I have been invited and subsequently travelled abroad approximately 30 times to present the culture, Exhibit my art or to perform. Countries include, USA – Japan – Italy –France – UK – Spain – Canada and NZ.

Aug 2011 – Three week tour of USA including Performing at Opening of exhibition in Hollywood LA.

Awards, Grants, Residencies

  1. Artist in Residency – The Western Plains Cultural Centre, Dubbo NSW. Feb – April, 2008
  2. Recognised by the American public as an “all-star” to return for a 2nd episode of a popular known television show ‘Monster House’, reaching audiences of over 80 million people, with viewings in Australia.
  3. In March 2013, I was a Finalist in a competition conducted by NSW Forestry to design an aboriginal logo and was invited to the unveiling of the winning logo. From over 75 submissions, my entry was included in the top 14 which were placed in an exhibition.