by Lindsay Ferris
Largest festival of its kind: Tarnanthi 2019
Tarnanthi, Art Gallery of South Australia’s Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art, returns for its fourth iteration in October 2019. Internationally acclaimed and recognised as the largest festival of its kind, Tarnanthi 2019 encompasses a major exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia, a city-wide festival held at close to 30 partner venues and a dynamic Art Fair presented over the opening weekend.
The Festival’s creative vision is led by Barkindji artist and curator, Tarnanthi Artistic Director Nici Cumpston.
Cumpston says ‘Tarnanthi has captured the attention and imagination of people across the country. It is an absolute privilege to bring this exceptional art experience to audiences. The artists are testament to the rich diversity of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, and we are eager for these important stories, and this calibre of art, to be shared with our growing audiences.’
This year’s Tarnanthi Art Fair will also bring together close to fifty art centres from across the country, including Tjanpi Desert Weavers who return for the fourth iteration of the Fair. Tarnanthi Art Fair provides visitors with the opportunity to acquire works of art, with 100% of the proceeds going to the artists and art centres.
Premier of South Australia, the Hon. Steven Marshall MP is delighted to see the return of the nationally celebrated Festival and says, ‘Not only is Tarnanthi creating a collaborative and nationallyacclaimed platform to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artistic talent, the Festival has also generated tens of millions of dollars into our State’s economy. We are thrilled that South Australia is home to this inspiring and influential project.’
Laura Tyler, Asset President, Olympic Dam, BHP says, ‘BHP values the longstanding principal partnership with Art Gallery of South Australia through Tarnanthi. We are enormously proud of this partnership that continues to build on our foundation of social investment, cultural sustainability and economic empowerment that creates lasting benefits.’
Rhana Devenport ONZM, Director AGSA, says, ‘As one of our flagship projects, Tarnanthi’s ambitious scope continues to break new ground as an experimental platform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.’
This year’s Tarnanthi exhibition at AGSA includes works of art by artists ranging from fifteen to eighty-one years of age, and spanning a range of mediums across painting, photography, printmaking, carving, sculpture, moving image, works on paper and textiles.
Artist Ishmael Marika says, ‘Gurruṯu is the connections to the land and to the sea through paintings. Everything is connected by Gurruṯu and linked to Songlines, back through people, plants and animals.’
A collaboration: Guest curated by Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones, Bunha-bunhanga: Aboriginal agriculture in the south-east is the first ever representation through visual art of the ground-breaking research of award-winning author, Bruce Pascoe, an Australian academic historian; into pre-colonial land-use practices. For Bunha-bunhanga, Jones unites historical landscape paintings and drawings from around the country with rarely seen Aboriginal agricultural tools from museum collections.
From Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands: A number of projects from the APY Lands will befeatured in Tarnanthi 2019, from moving image works, to photography, installation, sculpture and painting. From Mimili Maku Arts, senior artist Ngupulya Pumani will present her most ambitious work to date, a triptych titled Antara, a three-panelled painting that depicts the Maku Tjukurpa (Witchetty Grub ancestral creation story) two important rock holes and ceremony sites near Mimili.
At its heart, Tarnanthi is a series of exhibitions, artists talks, performances and events, showcasing and celebrating contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art.
For further details visit www.agsa.sa.gov.au
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[Samantha Jonscher, ABC]
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supplied by PM&C
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