Words: Charlotte Middleton
Tarnanthi Festival returns from 15 October 2021 to 30 January 2022, presenting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art by close to 1,000 diverse practitioners from across the nation. The festival’s much-loved Art Fair will go 100% digital for this iteration of the festival, with dates yet to be announced.
The Art Gallery of South Australia will serve as Tarnanthi’s principal venue, presenting dozens of new works created by individual artists and through collaborative ventures from across the country. From canvas, to kangaroo pelt, to salvaged car parts, artworks span the full spectrum of materials and methods to provide critical commentaries on environmental, social and political issues as well as traditional storytelling.
In addition to AGSA, numerous other partner venues around Adelaide and across South Australia will play host to more than 30 exhibitions, from Port Augusta to McLaren Vale. Exhibitions and displays feature paintings, sculpture, installations, fashion, weaving, ceramics, video screenings in public spaces, and more.
The Tarnanthi 2021 program will also include a wide array of talks, tours, music and cultural performances, workshops, creative activities and student programs, plus themed activities in The Studio at AGSA.
Tarnanthi Artistic Director Nici Cumpston OAM said: “Storytelling lies at the heart of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists’ work, and Tarnanthi provides us with an occasion to listen. If we give them our fullest attention, they can transport us across time and country, into different ways of seeing and understanding. They represent a generous gift and it is an honour to work with these artists to present their stories at this year’s Tarnanthi.”
The festival is set to launch on Thursday 14 October with a livestreamed performance by award-winning electronic duo Electric Fields, presenting their contemporised versions of two traditional inmas (cultural song and dance), and featuring Antara and South Australia’s First Nations Dance Collective – Tjarutja.
Another opening weekend highlight each year is the panpa-panpalya ideas forum, to be streamed online this year, where visitors can hear important conversations from artists.
As it goes online, the Tarnanthi Art Fair will offer audiences across Australia and the globe the opportunity to buy Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art online. An ethical sales event, every dollar from purchases goes directly to artists and their community-run art centres – delivering economic benefits to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, where art production is a vital source of income.
To view the program or find out more about the fair, visit the AGSA website.
Tarnanthi is presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia with Principal Partner BHP and support from the Government of South Australia.
This article was originally published 3 September 2021.
Image: previous Tarnanthi Art Fair. Courtesy: Tarnanthi Art Fair.