Our November Laurel goes to James Tylor for his re-creation of the Kaurna tool kit, reflecting the revival of cultural skills across the wider world.
James Tylor grew up in Menindee, in far west New South Wales, before moving to the Kimberleys. He trained as a carpenter in Australia and Denmark before studying photography in Tasmania and South Australia. He currently lives in Canberra. James is of Kaurna, Māori, English, Scottish, Irish and Norwegian ancestry.
“I made this Kaurna tool kit for the Education Department of the South Australian Museum. My Kaurna tools will be used by Aboriginal education staff in the Indigenous gallery at the museum to show visitors physical examples of Kaurna artefacts in the museum glass cabinets. There are two Kaurna objects in this tool kit that the SA Museum doesn’t have in their historical collection, Kantapi adze and Yamaru Kangaroo skin bag. Yamaru bag was in the Melbourne Museum collections and the Kantapi adze was recorded in a historical drawing by William Cawthorne. These contemporary Kaurna tools modelled on historical artefacts help to fill gaps in the museum’s collection. As a Kaurna artist who makes historical Kaurna tools, my knowledge and experience as a contemporary maker help inform the Museum collections from a Kaurna Aboriginal perspective.”
The tool kit includes Wirnta barbed spear, Kutpi reed spear & Kaya grass tree spear, Wirnta barbed spear tip, Murlapaka broad shield, Wirri club, Kuru firestick, Katha digging stick, Yaramu bag and Kantapi adze.
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