Words will never hurt me (2014) is an installation-based work by Adelaide-based artist James Tylor. The work comprises video footage and three plum tree sticks inscribed with the word ‘Aboriginal’. The work draws on the primary school recollections of Tylor’s great grandmother, Grace (Campbell) Summers, who would get beaten around her legs with sticks by the white children and called ‘Aboriginal’. ‘It is such a strong oral story in our family’, writes Tylor, ‘because we can’t trace our Aboriginal ancestry back to a language group’.
Tylor is a Masters (Visual Art) graduate from the South Australian School of Art, University of South Australia. His work explores Australia’s cultural representation through alternative photography mediums, sculpture, installation and video inspired by his multi-racial heritage involving Aboriginal, English and Maori-Australian ancestry. The showing of Words will never hurt me;in Darwin coincides with Tylor’s finalist representation in 2014 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards. Tylor’s work features in Australian public and private collections; he is represented by Marshall Arts Gallery, SA; Vivien Anderson Gallery, VIC; and Paul McNamara Gallery, NZ.