Jane Burton Taylor
Jane Burton Taylor’s art practice is multidisciplinary and incorporates textiles, digital media and immersive installation. She has an ongoing interest in place and how we perceive it, personally, socially, and in terms of its historic and cultural context. Her works are generally made in response to local and global environmental and political situations, particularly in relation to the workings of democracy. Materials she employs range from paper, steel, film, photography and sound to the ephemeral materials of ice and mist. She has exhibited nationally and in Italy, and has a Masters of Art (by coursework) from the University of New South Wales School of Art and Design and a Masters of Art (research and practice) from the National Art School (NAS).
Since graduating with her NAS Masters, Jane has been accepted into numerous exhibitions, including a selection of masters work at Emanate, New England Regional Museum, and subsequently the Glover Art Prize (Hobart), South Australia Museum’s Waterhouse Art Prize (Adelaide), the Alice (Alice Springs), plus Blacktown Art Prize, the Fisher Ghost in ’21 and ’22, the Hornsby Art Prize and the Meroogal Women’s’ Art Prize (Nowra) in ‘20 and ’22. She recently completed a collaborative residency at Q Station and a resulting kinetic work will exhibit in October at the Les Sculptures Refusees exhibition on site. Jane’s artwork is held in private collections and also in those of the NSW State Library and National Library of Australia.
Not Terra Nullius reimagines an early colonial land grant map. It erases the names of recipients of grants and English place names, replacing them with the names given to the region’s islands, bays and sandy coves by the indigenous peoples who are its traditional custodians; and who were its sole occupants prior to 1770.
Colonist settlers used western cartography to claim Australia and impose their own system of land tenure. They drew maps and named places in the landscape. They then divided up the land into parcels and granted them to their fellow countrymen. But the land was Not Terra Nullius, not empty. It was inhabited by the Gadigal peoples of the Eora Nation, together with other visiting indigenous groups who traded and moved through, traversing the land and waters of, and around, what is now known as Sydney Harbour.
This land grant map dating from the early 1800s specifically records the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. By reworking it to remove colonial settler names, and reinstate indigenous place names in the landscape, I am respectfully acknowledging and honouring the original custodians. Most of the indigenous words on this reworked map were recorded by early colonists like Lt Dawes, after conversations with local First Nations people living on the harbour, including Patyegarang, a young Cammeraygal woman who spoke the Gadigal language.
Thank you to Professor Jakelin Troy who generously consulted with me and Dr Val Attenbrow, the contemporary source for the historic indigenous place names via her book Sydney’s Aboriginal Past. And thank you too to Hugh and Angela of Darlington Installation Projects for hosting the work in the much anticipated lead up to the referendum. Not Terra Nullius is made in whole-hearted support of the Yes vote.