Tom E Lewis

May 2014

Tom E Lewis

Tom Lewis is a prolific and versatile artist on both national and international levels. He is also well known to everyone who lives in our area as a good bloke and a warm friend, supporting and participating in events in his home town of Katherine.

It’s difficult to know where to stop when writing about Tom’s life, achievements and current projects, because every day seems to bring fresh news.

Tom was born and grew up in the Roper district of the Katherine Region, in South Eastern Arnhem Land. He was a bricklayer and stockman before his acting career began taking him all around the world for stage and screen gigs.

He is most renowned for his powerful screen acting, from the lead role in Fred Schepisi’s The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith 1978 to his performance alongside Ryan Kwanten in the 2010 Australian High-Country Western, Red Hill.

But his work with the theatre is equally profound and he has a special connection with Melbourne in this regard, having worked with Playbox, Melbourne Theatre Company, Melbourne Workers Theatre, Arena, Malthouse and Handspan Theatres. Most recently, Tom’s role as King Lear in a reworking of Shakespeare, set in Indigenous Australian society won him a Green Room Award in April 2014, with colleague Michael Kantor, for The Shadow King. This follows an earlier role as Othello.

Following successful seasons of the Shadow King at Sydney, Perth and Adelaide International Arts Festivals earlier this year, Tom released his new CD, Beneath the Sun, in February, gaining 4 star reviews in everything from Rolling Stone to the Australian newspaper. Beneath the Sun is already being recognised by many as an Australian classic and has inspired comparisons to Bob Dylan and Tom Waits

Tom will be launching the new CD in Darwin, May 9th, at the inaugural Garrmalang Festival – Darwin’s first major three-day long Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural festival celebrating music, dance, art, and cabaret.

But before that, a special sneak preview at GYRACC in his home town of Katherine on Thursday 8th May. After these NT appearances, Tom will take his music on a national tour beginning in Melbourne and Sydney.

All of this is while progressing the development of Djilpin Arts Aboriginal Corporation which continues to surprise and delight – for example winning The Nicholas Murcutt Award in the 2013 National Architecture Awards for the Wugularr bush hotel, the Djakanimba Pavilions.

This month, Djilpin Arts is taking up residence in Melbourne’s Federation Square to present a Morning Star Pole Ceremony, to exhibit new works in print and fibre, to screen a new documentary and to offer traditional dance, song and storytelling, see the What’s On section.