Eric is a Kamilaroi man who moved to Shepparton over twenty years ago on the advice of a man he met living on the river. He has become the heart and soul of the Gallery, sharing his wisdom and guidance with anyone who wants to listen. Eric’s spirit resonates in everything he does; when he speaks, when he paints and especially when he plays his didgeridoo.
His didgeridoo playing is the traditional healing kind; it soothes your spirit and allows you to exist solely in this singular moment. It means Eric is a highly sought after musician, playing at the opening of many official functions.
Eric’s spirit animal is the Emu; it’s also the Kamilaroi spirit bird so it is incredibly significant to him. As Eric says; it’s his spiritual dancer and connects him to the earth, he feels strongly about the Emu in his mind, body and soul. Not surprisingly, the Emu features in many of his works, from the beautifully delicate carved and painted emu eggs, to his paintings which elevate the Emu into the sky to sit comfortably amongst the stars.
He recently got into ceramics after being inspired by the Hermannsburg pottery. Eric is excited to have a different medium to put his paintings on. Because Eric is a well-known artist people assume he must be rich to which Eric replies “I am! I got my culture! Money isn’t power, it’s necessary but it’s not power. Knowledge is power, passing on the common knowledge of your culture, regardless of what it is, is power.” He explains by being a teacher he’s empowering other people with his knowledge of culture and his spirit will be passed to each and every person. There’s no bigger power than soul. We cry when we’re really hurt. It doesn’t come from our heart; it’s our soul that hurts.
Eric believes his culture means harmony and he can see us achieving that one day. He says people are going to get sick of doing wrong by each other and if he can share his spirit with as many people as possible, through stories or his art, then maybe we’ll achieve it sooner. He doesn’t like his art hanging in the Gallery for too long, he wants to see it sold so it can be placed in a home and his stories shared and retold in far off places.
Eric was blessed by an encounter with a WA Elder a while back.
Eric describes him as a full blood fella who appeared out of nowhere when Eric was waiting for a train. The man had a bunch of emu feathers wrapped in a red bandanna. He rubbed them through his hair and underarms and then all over Eric’s back, head, arms and hands. The Elder told him “I give you the confidence of our culture to take your life as high as you want to go.“ It moved Eric and he draws a lot of energy from that experience every day.
As Eric says that by sharing his knowledge with any and all involved with the Gallery he has made this a place of learning, healing and hope.