Ray was the recipient of the Deadly Art Award, the top prize category in the 2013 Victorian Indigenous Art Awards held annually in Victoria. He won the prize with a painting of his mother Alice.

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ARTIST STATEMENT

'My artwork has been a constantly evolving journey since the mid 1980s. Like many other Urban based Koori artists', I began with the commonly used 'dots' and 'cross hatch' styles of the central and top end regions of Australia. I have now developed a more personalized signature style with peeled back corners and floating objects over layered with traditional markings and patterning from my Gunnai heritage Gippsland, Victoria'.


RAY THOMAS - MA

Born, 1960, Melbourne, Victoria    

Language Group, Gunnai

Country, East Gippsland, Victoria

Domicile, Melbourne, Victoria


Ray comes from the Gunnai people of the Gippsland region of Eastern Victoria. Mainly self- taught, he became involved in painting through being introduced to the late Lin Onus.


Since the mid 80s' Ray has been researching his Gunnai peoples myths, legends and traditional designs and markings held in the archives of museums. Of significant influence and inspiration to Ray has been the work and career of fellow artist, the late Lin Onus. Ray first met Lin around 1974 in what Lin called his 'landscape' days. From this meeting the spark was ignited in Ray to paint the country in the western landscape tradition.


Ray's work has now developed and evolved into a more personal style that combines a contemporary sensibility, incorporating traditional Gunnai designs and imagery.


Ray is considered one of Victoria's most significant artists and is now the inspiration to many young indigenous artists around Australia. His new works display an extraordinary technical skill level and a mastery of both oils and acrylics media, but most importantly they belie a confidence and serenity of a mature artist, content in his achievement of learning culture to the extent that he now is able to show his peoples story's through his art for all to see.


SOLO EXHIBITIONS


1994     

Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Australia

1996

Art center of Plano Dallas, Texas, USA

1999

Mia-Mia Aboriginal Gallery Melbourne, Australia

2002

Secret Sacred Country, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Australia

2005

Master of Arts, Koori Heritage Trust, Melbourne, Australia

2006

Gunnai Yukan (Mothers) storys, Latrobe Regional Gallery, Morwell, Victoria, Australia.



GROUP EXHIBITIONS


1987

Snake Dreaming, Victorian Aboriginal Culture, Works commissioned by the Ministry of Planning and Environment Victoria

1989     

Koori-Nunga Perspective, Tandanya Aboriginal Culture Institute, Adelaide South Australia

1991     

Madigans Art Party, Melbourne AustraliaThe Art of Place, The fifth National Indigenous Heritage Art Award, Old Parliament House, Canberra and touring: Wagga Wagga Regional Gallery, NSW; Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, Adelaide; State Library of NSW, Sydney; The Araluen Centre for the Arts and Entertainment, Alice Springs; John Curtain Gallery, University of Technology, Perth Melbourne Artfair 2000, represented by Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

1992     

Telecom National Aboriginal Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Australia          

1993     

Contemporary Koori Art, Westpac Gallery Melbourne, Australia

The Art of Survival, Meat Market Art & Craft Centre Melbourne, Australia Echoes of the Dreamtime, Halcyon-Lake Design Centre, Melbourne Australia

1994     

Melbourne Fringe Festival, Yalukit Willim, Melbourne Fringe Studio, Melbourne Australia

Power of the Land, Master pieces of Aboriginal Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Australia

Telecom National Aboriginal Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin, Australia

1995     

Art of the Men, Brunswick Mechanics Institute Gallery Melbourne Australia

Telecom National Aboriginal Art Award, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin Australia

1996     

We-Iri – Big Shots, National Gallery of Victoria Melbourne Australia

International Conference, Asia Pacific Confederation for the Arts Education, Old Treasury Building Melbourne Australia, Expositie Dreamings, Eusebiuskerk, Arnhem, Holland Europe

1998     

Wilson's Prom- Centenary Celebrations, Wilson's Prom Visitors Centre, Victoria

Australia Alive- World Vision Project, Brunswick Mechanics Institute Hall, Brunswick Melbourne, 15th National Aboriginal Torres Straight Islander Art Award Exhibition, Darwin

4th Australian Heritage Commission Art Award Exhibition, Canberra, Australia

Two Person show –The Journey, Brunswick Mechanics Institute Hall, Brunswick, Melbourne

1999     

All About Art, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

World Vision group Exhibition Diamaru plaza Melbourne

2000     

National Aboriginal & Torres Straight Islander Art Award, Darwin Australia

The Art of Place; 5th National Indigenous Heritage Art Award, Canberra

2001     

Spirituality and Australian Aboriginal Art, Department of Culture, Regional Government of Madrid, Spain (touring exhibition)

Scar: A Stolen Vision, a public art installation presented by the City of Melbourne, Melbourne City Square

Our Mob, Nichloson Street Gallery, Bairnsdale, Victoria

All About Art, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

2002          

Spirituality and Australian Aboriginal Art, Department of Culture, Regional Government of Madrid, Spain (touring exhibition)

Native Title Business: Contemporary Aboriginal Art, National traveling exhibition presented by the Guraang Land Council Aboriginal Corporation toured by the Regional Galleries Association of Queensland

All About Art, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne

Melbourne Artfair represented

by Alcaston Gallery Melbourne

Michael Long Testimonial Art Award,

Alcaston Gallery,Melbourne

2003       

Art Miami 2003, Miami USA represented by Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Australia

20th Year  Anniversary, National Aboriginal Torres Straight Islander Art Award, National tour, Australia

The Marn Grook Auction- A unique collection of works by Indigenous artists using the Australian Rules Football as a canvas, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney NSW

Tribal Expressions 1 & 2, Arts Victoria, Melbourne Australia

Yanyuback Yenbenanaruk- To Walk with the Ancestors, Koori Heritage Trust, Melbourne Australia

Desert Masters-group exhibition New York, USA

2004       

Tribal Expressions 3 Arts Victoria Melbourne AustraliMissions in the Limelight, Koori Heritage Trust, Melbourne Australia

Gumbri: White Dove Exhibition Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Melbourne Australia

The Spirit of Football, The Ian Potter Centre, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

2005     

Melbourne Affordable Art Show, Exhibition Hall, Koori Heritage Trust stall, Melbourne, Australia

Songlines and Dreamings, Bunjilaka, Melbourne Museum, Melbourne, Australia Journeys In Identity, Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, Bundoora, Melbourne, Australia

Urbaninity, Dantes, Fitzroy, Melbourne Australia

Urban Voices: Southern Region Indigenous Artists, Counihan Gallery, Brunswick Melbourne, Australia

'Blood Country'-Victoria Cultural Week program World Expo 2005, Nagoya, Aichi, Prefecture, Japan.

Reconciliation Day, The Atrium, Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia

'Blood Country' Australian Print Workshop, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia

Sydney Affordable Art Show, Koori Heritage Trust stall, Sydney, Australia

Nudgeree (Friend): Listening to the spaces between

RMIT School of Art Gallery

Bld 2, Bowen st, RMIT University

Melbourne, Australia

2007     

Tribal Expressions, Black box Theatre, Arts Centre, Melbourne, Australia

Two Tribes, Switchback Gallery, Churchill, Victoria

Victorian Indigenous Art Award

Mahoneys Gallery, Melbourne

Australia

2007

Power and Beauty-Indigenous Art Now

Heidie Museum of Modern Art

Templestowe, Melbourne

Australia

Victorian Indigenous Art Award

Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne Australia


COMMISSIONS  AWARDS


2013     

Victorian Indigenous Art Award

First prize Deadly Art Award

2005-2007       

Northcote Civic Square Redevelopment, artist's commission, City of Darebin, Melbourne, Australia.

2002                

1st Prize Outstanding Painting, Michael Long Testimonial Art Award, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Australia

Royal Australian Mint Commission for 2003 Kangaroo Silver Coin Design

1998                

1st Prize, NAIDOC National Poster Award, Broome WA

Mural commission by Cathy Freeman

1997               

Cleve Gardens Redevelopment Project,

Carved Ceramic pole,

St Kilda, Melbourne.

1996                

Beach boardwalk Project, St Kilda beachfront, Melbourne, Australia

Stephen Kellner Art Award, 2nd Prize, Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne, Australia

1995                

Mural: Royal Childrens Hospital Cardiology Unit, Melbourne Australia.

1993                

Electricity Supply Box painted, Commissioned by the Melbourne City Council, Melbourne, Australia

1992               

Cover Design, Victorian Koori Resources Guide, commissioned by the Department of Social Security, Melbourne, Australia.

Artist in Residence, Eumemering Secondary College, Hallam, Australia.

Atunga Bush Story painting, Commissioned by Australis Pty Ltd.

1991                

Mural: Murray River Creation, Commissioned by the Koorie Heritage Trust, Mobile Koori Exhibition, Melbourne, Australia.

1989               

Artist in Residence, Parafield Gardens High School, Adelaide, South Australia.

1988                

Artist in Residence, Nowra High School, Nowra, NSW, Australia.

Artist in Residence, Shoalhaven High School, Wollongong, NSW, Australia.

1987                

Snake Dreaming, Victorian Aboriginal Culture, commissioned by the Ministry of planning and Environment. Melbourne, Australia.

1986                

Victorian Aboriginal Artist of the Year, NAIDOC, Melbourne, Australia.