Tarnanthi Festival returns to South Australia

The latest edition will feature an art fair, exhibitions, talks, performances, workshops and more…

Words: Erin Irwin

Originally envisioned to be a one-off event in 2015, the runaway success of the Tarnanthi Festival will see it return for an eighth edition, with events to be held across South Australia that feature the very best of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and makers. Speaking to the sheer diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices and practices, the programme is a perfect opportunity for art lovers and collectors to experience a vast range of art, craft and design.

A major component of the festival will be the plethora of shows at the Art Gallery of South Australia, which will include a sweeping survey of the works of Western Aranda painter Vincent Namatjira. Also to be featured are Tiger Yaltangki’s innovative approach to rock posters, Bugai Whyoulter’s painterly observations of her desert homeland of Wantili, Kunmanara (Ngilan) Dodd’s evocative sculptural works, Wally Wilfred’s explorations of revered traditions relating to life and death, Nyangulya Katie Nalgood’s connection to Country in the Pilbara and the Kimberley, the Injalak women weavers and their flair for colour, Ray Mudjandi’s representations of his latest Aboriginal superhero, and many more.

Attendees can also look forward to the Tarnanthi Art Fair, this year to be held at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre as well as online after two years solely in the digital realm. All works are ethically made and sold, and all proceeds go directly to artists and Art Centres. The fair will present an opportunity to meet many of the artists who are pushing the boundaries of their craft, and collectors can immerse themselves in a plethora of mediums, approaches and ideas.

The Adelaide arm of the festival will also feature the world premier of the film Her Name is Nanny Nellie, directed by Ngarigo and Awabakal man Daniel King, as well as talks by a range of artists, and exhibitions at a range of spaces including the JamFactory, Hugo Michell Gallery, Flinders University Museum of Art, and the Samstag Museum of Art to name just a few. Further afield, attendants can experience works and events at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale and Port Pirie Regional Art Gallery, with more announcements to come.

The festival will launch with a special event to be held Thursday 19 October from 6pm. This will include a Kaurna Welcome to Country, a speech by Arrernte/Yankunytjatjara artist Robert Fielding, and a performance by Arrernte/Gurindji singer-songwriter Dan Sultan. The festival will then run until Sunday 21 January 2024.

This article was posted 13 September 2023.

Image: Tiger Yaltangki, Back in Black, from the series Wanangara – Lightning, 2022. Synthetic polymer paint on found poster and paper, 76 x 112cm. Courtesy: the artist, Iwantja Arts, and the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide. 

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