James Tylor specialises in experimental and historical photographic processes. He uses a hybrid of analogue and digital photographic techniques to reference colonial history and its legacy in present day Australia. His own multicultural heritage, which includes Nunga (Kaurna), Māori (Te Arawa) and European (English, Scottish, Irish, Dutch and Norwegian) ancestry, is brought to bear on his work.
Karrawirra Yerta, which translates to ‘river red gum country’ explores the political complexity of environmental management, land ownership and custodianship. In 2014 a bushfire in the Eden Valley in South Australia burnt and killed a large number of 500-year-old river red gum trees on the Angas’ property outside of Angaston in South Australia. The Angas family has owned this farm since the British colonisation of South Australia in 1836 and can trace the farm’s heritage back to George Fife Angas, the chairman and founder of the South Australian Company. Prior to European colonisation the area was owned, managed and cared for by the Ngadjuri people for 60,000 years. In the neighbouring Kaurna language group, Ngadjuri people are called ‘Wirra Meyu’, which translates to ‘forest people’ with their land defined by the forest of red gum trees that grow in the region. British colonisation had a massive impact on Aboriginal people, caused by a loss of traditional languages, knowledge and customs, including traditional fire land management, which has resulted in catastrophic bushfires in South Australia, post-colonisation.
Tylor worked as a carpenter in Australia and Denmark before studying art. He has been the subject of several solo exhibitions and has been included in many group exhibitions including TARNANTHI| Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia in 2015.