KELLY TAYLOR

Yankunytjatjara / Kokatha Women

MY STORY LIVING ON COUNTRY

My name is Kelly Taylor and I am an Aboriginal Artist at KT Aboriginal Fine Art, I belong to the Yankunytjatjara people on my grandmother's side and Kokatha people on my grandfather’s side. My grandmother is Millie Taylor, but she was a Lennon before she got married. My grandfather is Edgar Dingaman, my grandfather is also a senior lore man.

I am custodian to my grandmother’s dreamtime stories as well as my own, my painting journey started when she was just 11 yrs. old while living in Alice Springs with my grandmother Millie Taylor (nee Lennon – Dec), every day after school I would watch my grandmother paint for hour’s, then one after school she put out a piece of canvas she designed for me earlier of the lightning dreaming and I have been painting ever since.

My paintings are about my childhood days hunting and gathering traditional foods, playing, and rolling down beautiful red sand hills of Ernabella, Fregon, Ayers Rock, Indulkana, Alice Springs, Amata, Coober Pedy, and Port Augusta, where we would camp surrounded by trees, sand hills and plenty of water holes to swim in and sitting by the campfire or camp site on country, Enjoying the fresh air.

Growing up out bush all us kids would gather firesticks and help nana make the campfire before sunset ready for bedtime, then we would have a feed then jump into the swag and listen to nana tell us stories until we fell asleep, sometimes when it’s a full moon we would fall asleep watching the moonlight just beautiful.
Today I share these special moments with my daughter's and on canvas.

My favourite memory about growing out bush is when I sat with my grandmother in Amata Community (APY) and we would sit and watch the blue rain and just recently I created my first ever large painting of the 'Big Blue Rain' that also represents the lightning Dreaming a story shared to me by my grandmother during these beautiful rainy days and nights.

Every morning we would drive into Indulkana (APY) for the family to get to work and school and I would go with my nana and sit with her to paint at the Iwantja Arts Centre (APY), after a while, I started to go to the arts centre myself and paint when the arts centre closed me and cousins, we would go down to the Indulkana creek and take all our little cousins with us and dig up wild bush onions along the creek beds we used to have so much fun hunting and gathering traditional foods, playing and rolling down beautiful red sandhills. Sometimes I would paint with my nana out bush for hours, we didn't paint much indoors only when we go to the arts centres.

We moved around a lot from Alice Springs to Ernabella, Fregon then to Indulkana and just out of Indulkana my grandmother showed me the old brick ruins and she showed me exactly where she was born out bush.

I moved around a lot with my nana from Alice Springs to Ernabella, Fregon then to Indulkana, before she settled down on a small property, she named Wantjabella just out of Indulkana this is where my nana was born and one afternoon, she took me for a walk and showed me the old ruin where she was born out bush.


Boomerangs hand painted by Kelly & her nana Millie.

My mum Lorraine (dec) worked at the Indulkana store, and my mum's third oldest brother Darryl (dec) & his wife Audrey worked at the Indulkana health and my mum's oldest brother Sammy (dec) worked at the Indulkana Community Work Shed.

While we where living in Indulkana we used to travel once in a while to Coober Pedy to visit family for a couple of days during our stay there a Art Gallery owner approached my grandmother and asked her if and her family can paint a box of 50 boomerangs every couple of months, my grandmother was more than happy to paint these boomerangs but at a fair price as she had a big family to support, I used to help my grandmother paint these boomerangs and they got more and more popular but during this time my oldest brother fell ill and we had to move to Port Augusta so my brother could be close to a dialysis machine.

Ayres Rock (Uluru) is where I travelled with my grandmother, we would camp overnight or for a few days to catch up with family, during our stay my grandmother would join her sisters in Inma (ceremony) and take all her daughters and granddaughters to listen and learn about culture. Then a few days later we return home to Windu Windu this is my grandmother's homeland just another side Ernabella, this is where I lived and went to school with my older cousins for a few years.

Over the years we started travelling again this time to Coober Pedy and nana travelled back and forth every couple of months until my mum's brother Darryl moved there with his family and nana and mum decided to move too.

I stayed in Indulkana and lived with my uncle Andrew Dingamen for a couple of years and I started working at the school while I was still painting at the Arts Centre after a few years I moved away from Indulkana to Port Augusta where I travelled to live and support my nana.

From Left to right: Kelly's nana Millie Taylor (dec), with her two sisters Tillie Waye, Emily Austin.

Kelly with her Nana, Mum, Aunties, Uncles & First cousins travelling from Alice Springs through Ayres Rock (Uluru) to Ernabella.

JOURNEY TO CEDUNA

While living in Port Augusta I travelled with nana to Ceduna to have Christmas with mums brother Malcolm Taylor (dec) and his family for Christmas after that I started travelling back and forth a few times with my cousin during this time I met my partner Trevor Ware and we had three beautiful daughters and I lived in Ceduna for the last 20+ years, I did a painting recently that represents 'Desert Meets Sea', it's about myself meeting my partner Trevor who comes from the sea and meets a desert girl and we have a family and travel the country together.

Today me and my little family travel back home once in a while to catch up with family after a few days or weeks then we travel back to Ceduna, once I'm back home, I start painting again with my daughter's. Painting is very therapeutic for me and my daughters and keeps us connected to our beautiful country and culture.

In 2015 I wanted to learn more about digital designs for my art so I got qualified in Graphic design. Once I was completed my certificate III in Digital Media I started designing custom sports & corporate wear, a few years later me and my youngest daughter T'keyah created a Facebook page and website and called it KT Aboriginal Fine Art from there I started designing comforters and taught my daughter Kelilah how to design candles & T'keyah how to design hooded blankets, now we work together to create new designs and products.

I am featured in a book called Aboriginal Art & the Dreaming, If you want to read more about my grandmother Millie Taylor, you can find her books titled Born Out Bush and Aboriginal Artists in South Australia you can find them through Amazon and libraries throughout Australia.