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Tarrkarri - Centre for First Nations Cultures

[supplied by NIAA]

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North Terrace arrival with water feature and cantilevered galleries evoking a sense of welcome. Design credit: Woods Bagot and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Image: supplied

Located on Kaurna Country (Lot Fourteen, North Terrace, Adelaide), Tarrkarri will be a dynamic and immersive living cultural centre showcasing 60,000 years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

Tarrkarri, which means ‘the future’ in Kaurna language, will take a prominent place in Lot Fourteen amongst buildings filled with some of the world’s major future focussed companies such as Amazon, Google Cloud, Microsoft and Saber Astronautics.

David Rathman AM PSM is the Project Ambassador for Tarrkarri.

‘It is the first time in Australia’s modern history, that a bespoke building of global significance will be dedicated to the rich stories and cultural heritage of Australia’s First Peoples,’ David said.

‘Tarrkarri will provide visitors a leading educational program, traditional and contemporary performances, language programs, and visual arts; drawing upon the extensive artefacts, archives and collections from across the state, nationally and internationally with the use of innovative forms of contemporary expressions and digital technologies.’

Tarrkarri will stand out on a boulevard which already features significant South Australian buildings such as Parliament House, Government House, Bonython Hall and the State Library, Art Gallery and Museum.

The building celebrates earth, land and sky. It is organised into three distinct levels of approximately 11,400m2 comprising a lower level exhibition space and a street ground level lobby that includes retail and cafe space. Its upper level is made up of exhibition space which features natural light and views to the outside.

Tarrkarri provides a unique opportunity to work closely and strengthen partnerships with existing local and national cultural institutions, including the Adelaide based Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute.

Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin, Assistant Director for Tarrkarri, recognises the challenge of integrating the culture of over 500 tribes and 250 languages spoken at the time of 1788.

‘From a curatorial perspective, one must acknowledge a high degree of sensitivity and a duty of care for First Nations community when embarking on the programming of stories and creative expressions,’ Lee-Ann said.

‘Rather, Tarrkarri will showcase many cultural stories and languages through a curatorial framework and draw upon the creative expression and artistic expertise of First Nations practitioners, and the extraordinary and unique collections held by state, national, and international institutions.’

For more than 60,000 years, the land now occupied by Lot Fourteen was integral to Kaurna people, as a place for camping and ceremony, between the banks of Karrawirra Parri (River of the Red Gum forest, River Torrens) and the waterholes of Kainka Wirra (Eucalypt forest, Adelaide Botanic Garden).

‘The areas around Lot Fourteen continue to provide refuge for the Kaurna community and were a place to practice culture for many years after the arrival of the British settlers. The Centre being built at this site, will be the vessel to carry the story of Country; which is the very heart of First Nations people’s existence,’ David said.

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