James Tylor

James Tylor

Turalayinthi Yarta series

This series explores my connection with Kaurna yarta (Kaurna land) through learning, researching, documenting and traveling on country. Turalayinthi Yarta is a Kaurna phrase ‘to see yourself in the landscape’ or ‘landscape photography’. In a two-year period, I travelled over 300 km of the southern part of the Hans Heysen trail that runs parallel along the Kaurna nation boundary line in the Mount Lofty ranges. Combining photographs and traditional Nunga (South Australian Aboriginal people) designs to represent my connection with this Kaurna region of South Australia.

The Heysen trail runs through the Mount Lofty and Flinders ranges from Cape Jervis in the south to Wilpena pound in the north. The Heysen trail named after the renown German Australian colonial landscape painter Sir Hans Heysen. The 1,200km long trail passes over many different Nunga nations such as Ramindjeri, Ngarrindjeri, Kaurna, Peramangk, Ngadjuri, Adnyamathanha, and Nukunu lands. I have attempted to acknowledge these Nunga nations throughout this series with traditional language and design.

The photographs of the landscape document different regions, and environments of Kaurna and the surrounding Nunga region. Painting over the European medium of photography with ochre, pipeclay and charcoal with Nunga designs to represent Nunga people’s intellectual, spiritual and physical connection with yarta (Country). The ochre and charcoal on the photographs is a physical presentation of the landscape on the photographs. 

My Nunga Kaurna family has been in the region of South Australia for 65,000¬80,000 years and has a rich cultural connection to this land. It is a great honour for me as a Kaurna person to learn, practice and walk in my ancestors’ footsteps. This series acknowledges and pays respect to Nunga people and their rich cultural, spiritual and physical connection to this landscape of South Australia.

Nantu Yarta
Grey Kangaroo land

A Kaurna song about fire farming on the northern plains of the Kaurna nation and metaphor for the European colonisation of the mid north region of South Australia. Written by Michael O’Brien, James Tylor, Bec Selleck, Rob Amery, Lisa Williamson at University of Adelaide Jan. 2019

Nanturlu tutha ngarkuthi kawanta wamangka
Kardlarlu tutha ngadli nantu wayiwayi kumpathi
Manya parltarri wamangka, tutha tarni
Nantu muinmu pudni kawanta wamaana

Grey Kangaroo ate grass on the northern plains 
A fire came and burnt the grass scaring the Grey Kangaroo away
It rains on the plains and the grass emerges again
The Grey Kangaroo comes home again to the northern plains

Kaurna Red Kangaroo Totem Song

A totem story about the Red Kangaroo Tarnta in Tarntanya Adelaide on Kaurna nation.
Written by Michael O’Brien, James Tylor, Bec Selleck, Rob Amery, Lisa Williamson at University of Adelaide Jan 2019

Tarnta wangkanthi Marni naa pudni
Pa Munaintya Tarntanyangga
Nata tarntatina. Nganaitya?
Tura tarnta, puru tikanthi yaintya.

Red Kangaroo says Welcome
His Dreaming place is Adelaide.
He doesn’t live here anymore. Why?
The shadow of the Red Kangaroo still lives here.

James Tylor, Turalayinthi Yarta series 2017, 2019
Ink on paper, ochres
Courtesy of the artist; Vivien Anderson Gallery, Narrm Melbourne; GAGProjects, Tarntanya Adelaide; McNamara Gallery, Whanganui, Aotearoa New Zealand; and Jarvis Dooney Gallery, Berlin, Germany.
Installation images courtesy of the ACP and Michael Waite

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