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Adelaide Indigenous Festival celebrates the work of more than 1000 artists

Adelaide Indigenous Festival celebrates the work of more than 1000 artists
October 20, 2019

Tarnanthi: Festival of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art 2019 features the work of more than 1000 artists from across Australia in a range of mediums.

The festival was launched at the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) on 17th October and runs through to 27th January. The Art Gallery will host 30 collaborative or solo projects involving 195 artists during the festival while another 33 events and exhibitions will be held at 30 venues across South Australia.

AGSA has also announced that in 2020 Tarnanthi will feature an exhibition in France for the first time. The gallery, in collaboration with APY Collective and the Regional Council of Brittany, will present Kulata Tjuta at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes, in Brittany, France, in October 2020.

The centrepiece of the Brittany exhibition will be the signature work of the 2017 Tarnanthi festival – a spectacular installation titled Kulata Tjuta, meaning ‘Many Spears’, which comprises more than 500 spears, suspended in mid-air.

Thrilled that the Tarnanthi legacy would be shared beyond Australian shores next year, AGSA Director Rhana Devenport advised "as Tarnanthi shows so vividly, art can communicate across cultures and across continents.

“And through art, Tarnanthi articulates a message about the depth of culture in this land – a message that shapes lives locally, attitudes nationally and, increasingly, awareness internationally.”

Tarnanthi is a Kaurna word that means the first light of day or the first sight of a seed sprouting. The Kaurna are the original people of the Adelaide Plains.

This weekend in Adelaide features the Tarnanthi Art Fair at Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute where works from 50 art centres and more than 500 artists will be available for purchase.

Tarnanthi Artistic Director Nici Cumpston said Adelaide and South Australia had become a gateway to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art through the annual festival, which was first run in 2015.

Cumpston added that the festival attracted visitors from around Australia and the world and was also an important commercial opportunity for many of the artists, stating "for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people being able to showcase their works of art and having their art for sale is a really important part of their lives to survive and to continue making work and Tarnanthi provides that opportunity across many different levels.

“It’s also an opportunity for Australians and people from around the world to really gain an understanding of Aboriginal people and our culture.

“The artists are really pushing themselves, pushing their ideas and Tarnanthi is providing that opportunity through the support we can give financially but also through meeting people who can help them realise their ideas.”

The South Australian Museum, located next door to AGSA on Adelaide’s cultural boulevard, North Terrace, is home to the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal material, culture and art.

The museum is hosting two exhibitions during Tarnanthi: Still in my mind: Gurindji location, experience and visuality and Kondoli: the Keeper of the Fire.

Related Articles

30th September 2019 - Perth prepares to host World Indigenous Tourism Summit in 2020

16th September 2019 - Tarnanthi Festival program announced

14th September 2019 - No Government commitments to back new South Australian Arts and Culture Plan

31st August 2019 - Australia Council’s new vision for the arts anticipates limited growth

12th July 2019 - Cairns arts and culture thrives through Queensland Government investment

8th February 2019 - Consultation process commences for planned National Gallery for Aboriginal Art and Cultures in Adelaide

12th January 2019 - Traditional owners withdraw support for National Aboriginal Art Gallery in Alice Springs

3rd October 2018 - Indigenous tourism entrepreneurs look to advance opportunities at Lorne conference

21st June 2018 - Australian Government invests in digital labelling to combat fake Aboriginal art

25th May 2018 - South Australian Government puts new Adelaide Gallery on hold

26th March 2018 - Northern Territory Government picks Alice Springs site for new Indigenous museum

20th July 2016 - Cairns Indigenous Art Fair draws record crowd


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