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Gilbert Laurie
Posted by Byron Movement on 2012-04-23 15:57:34.0

Gilbert was born in Lismore in 1963 and belongs to the Yaegal and Widjubal tribes of the Bundjalung nation. He now lives at the base of the Nimbin Rocks, but was brought up by his grandparents around Yamba and Lismore. “They are the ones who taught me the law… taught me how to hunt and gather and get medicine off my land” explains Gilbert. In the mid 1980s, Gilbert and Oral Roberts set up an artists’ studio at The Chocolate Factory in Lismore where they worked for many years.


Gilbert has done several public artworks, has sold his work to hospitals in England and Germany and more recently to the Woodstock Museum in New York. His work has also appeared in group exhibitions, including Aquarius 08, Lismore Regional Gallery, 2008. He was the winner of the People’s Choice Awards for the 2005 and 2006 National Parks and Wildlife Indigenous Art Award. Gilbert is a musician and a dancer with the Bundjalung Custodians and teaches art. “I was brought up at Yamba, that was one of my special spots, in mum’s country.


I love the ocean… over there is home to me. Nimbin to us is a very special place. My grandfather used to bring us out here when we were little boys and he told us all the stories of what this place means to us….” Gilbert remembers his grandfather teaching him how to draw symbols on the ground and he developed his love of painting when he was at school. 


Artist Profile All of my artwork is connected to the totems within our nation. When you see me paint that echidna, that’s my grandmother, the Widjubal clan…The death adder is connected to Nimbin and the rocks, he’s the protector, and the Yumul, the goanna, that’s what we are, the goanna people. He protects us, the whole Bundjalung nation… Where my grandfather is from (Yamba), we are the dolphin people, connected to the saltwater. My grandchildren are going to know everything about here. What I’ve learned over the last 40 years of my life is going to be passed down to my grandchildren. All my paintings are based on Bundjalung nation, how we are connected to our own country.