A Note from the Artist
Forgotten – A tribute to life and to my Dad, Robert Geoffrey Taylor
(10/11/1930 – 24/02/2013)
This work may appear to be a symphony of death but these ‘ancestral portraits’ are a homage to the past and a tribute to the living. We mourn for their loss as they have no identification. Individuals transformed into skull stacks; endless architectural structures that wind their way as underground labyrinths. Lying in unmarked graves in silence, remnants from those who contributed to life stare out from damp shadows as a grim reminder of our destiny. The sight of the dead has always afforded me some ease, as universally people cherish the connections with their loved ones. My courtship with death began with 120 steps down to an endless corridor to the Paris’ Catacombs. A damp and dripping gravel pathway dimly lit by sidelights and echoes of footsteps. Searching for beauty and love transmitted by the hundreds of over 200-year-old skulls placed side by side. At the time of my visits, my father was dying and I thought a great deal about his imminent death. Tourists took special family photos of recently dead relatives as they wanted to take home a token of their experience to mark the bereavement. Many skulls were crumbling into fragments with drawn initials encased in love hearts on the craniums of the dead.Underground in tunnels, I drew the dead for endless hours at a time. Listening and watching the living, thinking how many of us reckon we are bullet proof. There is a felt sadness and loneliness in the repetition of skulls. They watch without judgement as a mirror of our own mortality Throughout the darkness of anonymity their stories are secrets, buried within an unstoppable decay: our world in a chaotic fragmentation, no longer whole. Terry Taylor
A Note from Scots’ Church Melbourne
It is with a deep sense of gratitude to the artist and organisers of White Night Melbourne that Scots’ Church acts as a venue hosting Terry Taylor’s monumental painting Forgotten. This piece of work contains layers of meaning for the artist and for all human beings who wrestle with the issues which confront us day by day – life, death, life after death and the people who give our own lives meaning. Ancient Scripture reminds us that no one is forgotten by God: “If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast…..
My frame was not hidden from you – I am still with you.” (Psalm 139)
The other connection we discover is the name of the very place where Jesus was crucified: “They came to a place called Golgotha” [meaning place of a skull] (Matthew 27:33). The ultimate sign of God’s love for you is that out of death, comes new life!
As we find ourselves in this sacred place and think about all the wonderful ways in which the installation Forgotten speaks to us, we humbly offer this prayer:
Thank you for family and friends who will never be forgotten.
I pray for all who have been forgotten.
Your word tells me that you haven’t forgotten me.
Thank you for visiting Scots’ Church and this work by Terry Taylor.