Wathaurung man Barry James Gilson and his mother, Wathaurung elder Aunty Marlene Gilson are sharing the stories of their country and their people to thousands of visitors at White Night in Melbourne this week.
Award-winning Gordon artist Ms Gilson and Ballarat singer, poet and actor Mr Gilson will have their work on show at the National Gallery of Victoria and the Carlton Gardens as part of Melbourne's three-night winter arts festival on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
We have always shared stories with family. Now we are telling them to the world.- Barry James Gilson
An installation called Deadly Questions will showcase Ms Gilson's artwork Land Lost, Land Stolen, Treaty at the National Gallery of Victoria with vocals and lyrics by Mr Gilson.
Ms Gilson said she was looking forward to seeing the painting come to life with animations.
"It is an honour. It is something I would never have expected," she told The Courier during a visit to her home in Gordon.
"Who would ever expect their work to be animated on the National Gallery? I sort of don't believe it until it happens."
Visitors to White Night Melbourne will also find the Gilson's work in the Carlton Gardens that will be transformed to the 'spiritual realm'.
The illuminated canopy of one of the gardens' beautiful old trees will tell the Bundjil creations story of the Kulin Nation with design by Deanne Gilson (Ms Gilson's daughter), story, song and narration by Mr Gilson and voice-over by Ms Gilson.
Their voices projected from the tree will introduce the six mystical beings that helped Bundjil the Eagle Hawk to form the land, waterways, plants, animals and humans.
"We cover different art mediums as a family," Mr Gilson said.
"We have always shared stories with family. Now we are telling them to the world."
Both installations at White Night Melbourne will be on show when White Night comes to Ballarat on September 21.
Deadly Questions will be projected on to the Bank of NSW facade while the location of the Story Tree is not yet confirmed.
2019 is the fourth year the Gilson's have participated in White Night, the all-night arts festival that was first held in Melbourne in 2013.
In 2018, a record 628,000 people attended the Melbourne event while more than 60,000 attended White Night Ballarat.
For Ms Gilson, involvement in White Night 2019 comes after her work was featured at the Art Gallery of NSW in the Biennale of Sydney last year.
Her paintings depicted historical Australian events including Captain Cook's landing at Botany Bay, 1770, and the Eureka Stockade, 3 December 1854, bringing forth the involvement of Aboriginal people.
Listen to Aunty Marlene Gilson speak about her journey in art with SBS below.
Pushing through a challenging year, Ms Gilson only returned to painting in the lounge room of her Gordon home in June after six months out of action due to serious infection golden staph.
Meanwhile, Mr Gilson has worked as a contributor to Sovereign Hill's new sound and light show Aura, telling the Wathaurung creation story through his words, voice and song.
Aura expands on Sovereign Hill's previous production Blood on the Southern Cross, following gold from its creation through to discovery until the current day, including the Eureka story within the context of the history of the local Aboriginal people.
Almost 30,000 have seen Aura since it was officially launched at Sovereign Hill in January.
Mr Gilson said Aboriginal history should have been included in the Eureka story a long time ago.
"People are starting to open their minds to what was before," he said.
"The past is around us. There is still a history there that is slowly fading. If we don't start to protect it and tell people about it they will never know because it will be erased."
See Barry James Gilson tells the story of the place of creation for the Kulin nations with ABC below.
Mr Gilson has long researched the stories and language of the Wathaurung people and is passionate about sharing the history through poetry and song.
"A lot of the stories are still in the land if you know where to look," he said.
"I go to a special place where there is white limestone in the water the people used to throw in to hunt black fish. It is still there and there are still carvings on rocks at Lal Lal no one knows about. That is another story I will bring out soon."
Mr Gilson has also worked as a postman in Ballarat for the past 18 years. He sang in Wathaurung language at music festival Golden Plains earlier this year and the last Mountain to Mouth held at You Yangs.
Ms Gilson first started painting 11-years-ago.
Visit whitenight.com.au/melbourne/ for more information about White Night 2019.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.