In recent years, Perth based Martu artist Curtis Taylor has emerged as one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists. PICA is pleased to present his first solo exhibition, Untitled (Uura), which brings together multiple streams of his practice including sculpture, installation and film.
Untitled (Uura) presents work made over a two-year period of exploration as Taylor worked with new materials and processes of making, finding new forms through which to tell stories and record language. This period of practice marks a departure from his first medium of film and presents a series of carved sculptures and site-specific installations and paintings.
Curated by PICA Curator Charlotte Hickson, Untitled (Uura) explores the artist’s self and how language, knowledge and persistent memories dwell within and re-surface across generations. Taylor’s work asserts narratives of cultural and personal identity, creating immersive spaces occupied by language and ritual that explore the edges of life and death.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Curtis Taylor is a Martu artist who grew up between Bidyadanga in the Kimberley Region, and Parnngurr in the East Pilbara. Currently based in Perth, over the past decade Taylor has developed a distinct practice that spans sculptural installation, painting and filmmaking. Through these mediums he presents urgent narratives that speak across generations, exploring ideas about identity, language, cultural practice and responsibility.
Taylor grew up learning the jukurrpa (stories) of his Elders being spoken, sung and painted. Early on Taylor chose a different medium to begin telling his own jukurrpa. Drawn to the limitless potential of film and digital media to be distributed, shared and stored for future generations, he started writing and directing short films that presented narratives which spoke directly of Martu knowledge and experience.
Producing stories in Martu Wangka dialect for his community and younger generations is fundamental to Taylor’s practice. He has a collective approach to filmmaking often working with collaborators and finding opportunities for younger generations and community members to build skills and discover their own practices and methods of storytelling. His films have been shown at The National 2019: New Australian Art at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney alongside collaborator Ishmael Marika, and The Sydney Film Festival 2019 with film making partner Nathan Mewett.
Taylor is an integral member of a generation of artists from the Pilbara Region who have asserted the strength of their culture and ongoing connection to country through vital projects such as Yiwarra Kuju: the Canning Stock Route, 2010-2013 (National Museum of Australia and FORM), We don’t need a map: A Martu experience of the Western Desert, 2012- 2016 (Fremantle Arts Centre), In Cahoots: artists collaborate across Country, 2017-2019 (Fremantle Arts Centre). Each of these projects has toured galleries nationally, sharing with vast audiences a vivid impression of Martu culture, country and language.