WHISPERING WALLS: HERSTORY RECALLED, RECOUNTED, RETOLD
6–22 December 2019
In Whispering Walls: Herstory recalled, recounted, retold, Debbie Taylor Worley investigates what it is to be powerfully feminine in today’s male dominated society. Employing ritual and ceremony she embraces natural, earth-based materials and draws power from the ocean, the earth and the sky. Utilising primordial symbols used in religious and metaphysical practices that honour the sacred feminine, Taylor Worley draws upon the visual sources of her European and Indigenous (Gamilaraay) cultures to create a labyrinth for reflecting on our spirituality and relationship with the earth.
Accompanying text Debbie Taylor Worley
The first time Debbie Taylor Worley saw a Gamillaraay carved tree (dendroglyph), it was like she was coming home, as if her place in the world was finally realised. In comparison to other Australian Aboriginal artforms, there is very little known about the trees, many having been destroyed by the relentless pursuit of agricultural land. She determined to honour the artform and shine a light on this hidden heritage. As the Gamillaraay are primarily carvers, rather than painters, Taylor Worley found that leather hard clay is a beautiful medium to carve, hence began her love for working with clay. Pottery, whether a functional vessel or as a piece of beautiful art, carved with the designs inspired by the dendroglyphs, have become a signature of her work. This evolved into female figures, similarly carved and glazed. They portray the strength, integrity, power, resilience and the enduring nurturing creativity of womanhood (and yes, this did develop after a life- changing, identity reinforcing event). During her Honours research at Queensland College of Art, Taylor Worley came to recognise the universality of motifs and symbols used by pre-patriarchal societies, which she has continued to develop throughout her Doctoral research.
Debbie Taylor Worley is a Gamillaraay woman, originally from north west NSW and now residing on the Tweed Coast. The birth of her two daughters sent her on a quest to reconnect to her heritage, resulting in studying, at a mature age, at Griffith University's Queensland College of Art. Taylor Worley graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art. Since then she has worked as an artist and an educator, participating in numerous group shows, illustrating children's books, conducting workshops and creating public and community artworks.