Known for their intricate dot paintings and connection to Country, Kelly Taylor and her three daughters from Ceduna in South Australia have achieved a lot in a little time.
In their two years of business as KT Aboriginal Fine Art, the mother and daughter artists have an online following of over 12,000, have been involved in multiple exhibitions and have received a number of accolades.
Belonging to the Kokatha/Yankunytjatjara people, Taylor is an artist and qualified graphic designer who has been painting for 29 years.
Her greatest artistic influence is her late grandmother Millie Taylor (nee Lennon), who taught her how to paint.
Taylor comes from a large family of artists and taught her daughters, Taliyah Ware 22, Kelilah Ware 21, and T’Keyah Ware 18, how to paint to carry on her grandmother’s legacy.
“I started painting when I was 11-years-old with my grandmother until her passing,” Taylor told NIT.
“Her legacy is important to me. So that’s why I paint, and I have my daughters paint with me, to carry her legacy on with us.”
With storylines embedded throughout her paintings, Taylor said growing up on Country has also been a major influence in forming her and her daughters’ works.
“Growing up on Country is part of it because that’s where my stories are formed,” she said.
“Just living on Country and being able to still have connection with my culture and how people push through, being with family out bush.”
As KT Aboriginal Fine Art have gained traction, the family of artists have collaborated with corporations like the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) and Disney Australia.
During NAIDOC Week, a piece created by Taylor and her daughter T’Keyah titled RFDS Flight Journey Line was unveiled at the Flying Doctor’s Adelaide.
The artwork shows a blue line tracing the plane’s journey past waterholes, remote communities and towns. It represents a special connection in their family’s heart, as Taylor was flown to the Royal Adelaide Hospital by the RFDS from Ceduna during two of her pregnancies.
“The biggest highlight for us would have been the Royal Flying Doctors where we designed and painted their new uniform, me and my youngest daughter T’Keyah,” said Taylor.
“That was an amazing opportunity.”
The design was also replicated on uniforms for Central Operations RFDS staff.
The Kokatha/Yankunytjatjara artists also recently completed a collaboration with Disney Australia and Bluethumb Art Gallery, each creating dot painted stars as a family.
“We painted the stars over the weekend, and it was a really, really exciting experience. We all enjoyed it a lot,” said Taylor.
While each of the daughters have had a love for art and watching their mother paint from a young age, they have all made the paintbrush their own.
Last month — out of 2,500 entries — Kelilah Ware won the Abstract award in the annual Bluethumb art prize for her striking dot painting Family Day Out.
The piece tells the story of being on Country and spending the day collecting bush foods like witchetty grubs and quandongs with family.
Kelly and T’Keyah’s art were also recently displayed at the Tarnanthi Art Fair at the Ceduna Art Centre, where T’Keyah sold her beautifully coloured dot painting Great Grandmother’s Country.
Taylor said she feels proud of her daughters’ achievements and is “looking forward to many, many more”.
Creating their pieces at home and selling their work via their Facebook page, the four artists said collaborating as a family is something they treasure.
“We really love collaborating as a family because we get to share our designs, stories and then pick our favourite colours as a family,” said Taylor.
As for their future plans, KT Aboriginal Fine Art aren’t slowing down any time soon.
“We’re actually working on a studio to paint in,” Taylor said.
“We’re also planning a mother-daughter exhibition soon hopefully in Adelaide.”
Find more from KT Aboriginal Fine Art here: https://www.facebook.com/ktaboriginalfineart.
By Grace Crivellaro