‘The Guildhouse Fellowship has contributed to a new confidence in myself, to reflect on my life’s work to date, and has reignited my drive to realise the full potential of my art practice.’
Troy-Anthony Baylis: Nomenclatures
Art Gallery of South Australia
8 August 2020 – 31 January 2021
Troy-Anthony Baylis explores the legacies of colonialism, migration and historical amnesia by literally weaving together the changing place names of South Australian towns. Baylis has researched the Nomenclature Act of 1917 which anglicised German place names such as Hahndorf, Lobethal and Klemzig, before being restored in 1935. A descendant of the Jawoyn people from the Northern Territory, Baylis has added another layer to the reading of the work through the embroidery of the Aboriginal place names in Kaurna language over the German and English names. In doing so Baylis reinstates the unceded lands in an act of typographic decolonisation.
The inaugural recipient of the Guildhouse Fellowship, Troy-Anthony Baylis (b 1976) is a descendant of the Jawoyn people from the Northern Territory, and of Irish ancestry. Troy-Anthony has developed a manifold practice encompassing making, curating, lecturing and research in the visual arts, as well as parallel work with Reconciliation. His large scale text-based works in reconstituted faux-mesh entitled Postcards recently featured in The National at Carriageworks, Sydney.
Thanks to the generous support of the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation, the Guildhouse Fellowship has provided Baylis with an important opportunity to spend several months in Berlin over the latter part of 2019, enabling research and exploration of public and private collections that expand his knowledge and engagement with contested sites and mechanisms of reconciliation. While in Berlin, Baylis connected with gallerists, museums and the Australian consulate. He found considerable inspiration and commenced sourcing new materials and making new works whilst in Germany, and was invited to present new works at private gallery 11m2, with a work titled Schutzmantelmadonnamimi a further exploration of Baylis’ textile works Mimis, created and presented in dialogue with the historic Berlin monument Siegessaule and it’s steps by architect Albert Speer.
The time in Berlin, followed by travel to Canberra and considerable time in the studio, has resulted in two new bodies of work, extending Baylis’s exploration of language, songlines and textile practice new ways.
Curator of The National, Carriageworks, Daniel Mudie Cunningham says of Baylis’ work in the exhibition (pictured above), ‘This work has been a definite audience highlight of The National, arousing great curiosity and wonder for the aesthetic and conceptual success of the work, but also great interest in Baylis, who for some audiences was under-recognised until now.’
Image: Troy-Anthony Baylis, Nomenclatures (installation view), 2020. Photograph: Saul Steed.