The Archaeology of Descent
12 September - 4 October 2014
The Archaeology of Descent

James Tylor, Un-resettling (Hunting Kangaroo), hand coloured inkjet print on photorag paper, 50x 50cm. Edition of 5.

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The Archaeology of Descent

Sue Kneebone, Hellfire Creek, 2014, Lamda print on metallic paper, H92.5 x W115.5cm.

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The Archaeology of Descent

Tjawina Porter, still from Kuruyultu, HD video, running time 5’55. Director Lizzie Giles, producer Nyssa Miller, camera Matt Woodham. Copyright Tjarlirli Art 2014.

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An exhibition of photomedia and video that delves into the lives of ancestors past in order to understand the present.

James Tylor is an emerging photomedia artist of Aboriginal, Maori and English ancestry whose work critically examines the impact of colonial activities on Aboriginal populations. He is also a Finalist in the current National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards. Tylor’s series Un-resettling (Happenings) questions the prohibiting of Aboriginal people from practicing their cultural traditions in Australian national parks. By reinserting Aboriginal cultural acts into the landscape, Tylor reminds the viewer that these areas have significance beyond non-Indigenous leisure pursuits and environmental conservation.

Sue Kneebone is a non-Aboriginal photomedia artist whose roots stem from the Victorian pastoral era; her practice exhumes skeletons from familial closets to expose the impacts of hidden or forgotten dark deeds on the present day. Kneebone traces the history of a distant relative who was brutally murdered near Skillogalee Creek, north of Adelaide in the 1850s. The web of relationships that connects the various actors in this saga – including Kudnarto, a local Aboriginal woman who was the first to be allowed to legally marry a European man and was a key witness in the prosecution of the murderer – reveals the violence and struggles lying beneath the veils of colonial pretences of refinement.

Tjarlirli Art is one of Australia's most remote Aboriginal owned and operated art centres. Their video project documents the ongoing importance of an ancestral story from Kuruyultu, a sacred site connected to the Tingarri men. The footage is intertwined with the childhood memories of the narrator, Tjawina Porter. Sisters Tjawina Porter and Esther Giles, and Lizzie Ellis, Esther’s eldest daughter, have created a collaborative painting Kuruyultu, as a specific response to the video project. When taken together, it becomes abundantly clear that the anchor of ancestry comprises blood and land, into which the spirits breathe life. For these women, there is no question of where they are from; their batons of knowledge will be passed down to the next generation in song, dance … and new media.