Adelaide Hills

Breadth of South Australian Artists Celebrated In AGSA’s 2020 SALA Display

The Art Gallery of South Australia will celebrate the 2020 South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival with four projects that honour the tremendous vitality of South Australian contemporary artists.

Featured image: Margaret Dodd, Australia, born 1941, Clay Glen, Australia, born 1961, Holden with hair curlers (front), from the series This Woman is Not a Car, 2017, Adelaide; printed by Chris Weverling at ProLab Imaging, Adelaide, giclée print on paper; Lorraine Hossack Fund through the Art Gallery of South Australia Foundation 2019, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.

The Art Gallery of South Australia will celebrate the 2020 South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival with four projects that honour the tremendous vitality of South Australian contemporary artists.

Throughout August, visitors to AGSA can experience Kirsten Coelho: In Focus, Troy-Anthony Baylis: Nomenclatures, Margaret Dodd: New Acquisitions and Tom Moore: Selects.

AGSA Director, Rhana Devenport ONZM says, ‘SALA’s ongoing vision to support and sustain South Australian visual artists has never been more pertinent as during this time where we have seen so many of our artists’ livelihoods impacted. We are thrilled to present four major projects by esteemed artists that highlight the enduring impression of creative practice in South Australia.’


SALA featured artist and monograph recipient Kirsten Coelho draws on the history of domestic utilitarian objects to create exquisite vessel forms in porcelain. 

Kirsten Coelho: In Focus showcases Kirsten Coelho’s distinct practice of crafting porcelain vessels to honour the everyday.

A selection of Coelho’s fine forms will be placed in dialogue with Russell Drysdale’s Woman in a Landscape, his 1949 painting that inspired the artist and her work. Coelho is this year’s SALA feature artist and her Wakefield Press monograph will be available for purchase from the Gallery Store.

Kirsten Coelho says, ‘The work Transfigured Night 2018 explores the experience of women in the Australian landscape investigated through the narratives of Henry Lawson’s Drover’s Wife and Russell Drysdale’s The Drovers Wife and Woman in the Landscape. Lawson’s story provides an allegory for the vulnerabilities and anxieties experienced in the night that can be overcome when day light breaks.

‘I am deeply grateful to have my work displayed during SALA at AGSA. I have been visiting the Gallery since I was a child. To have the opportunity to have my works exhibited alongside artist’s works both contemporary and historical that I have long admired and drawn inspiration from, is a very great honour.’


Inaugural Guildhouse Fellow Troy-Anthony Baylis’ new work will occupy AGSA’s Vestibule with new text-based textile works that challenge the colonial systems of place naming in South Australia.

Troy-Anthony Baylis explores the legacies of colonialism, migration and historical amnesia by literally weaving together the changing place names of South Australian towns.

Baylis has researched the Nomenclature Act of 1917 which anglicised German place names such as Hahndorf, Lobethal and Klemzig, before being restored in 1935.

A descendant of the Jawoyn people from the Northern Territory, Baylis has added a further layer to the reading of the work through the embroidery of the Aboriginal place names in Kaurna language over the German and English names. In doing so, Baylis reinstates the unceded lands.

Troy-Anthony Baylis says, ‘Crafting text as visual language, the exhibition Nomenclatures features three bodies of work that address and redress memory, place, and Country in an act of typographic decolonisation. Receiving the Guildhouse Fellowship has provided the freedom to focus exclusively on my practice. Within that place of freedom I travelled abroad, strengthened and expanded local and international relationships, completed new bodies of work, and cultivated ideas and works for projects well into the future. It has contributed to a new confidence in myself, to reflect on my life’s work to date, and has reignited my drive to realise the full potential of my art practice.’


This display features Margaret Dodd’s radical ceramic sculptures and her iconic film This Woman is Not a Car (1982), alongside related works by her contemporaries.

First exhibited at AGSA in 1977, Margaret Dodd’s avant-garde series This Woman Is Not a Car shaped a period of cultural revolution and feminist awareness in Australia. The series – consisting of a film and ceramic sculptures that adapted the iconic Holden car ‘dressed’ as babies, mothers and brides – blends reality with fantasy in a critique of modern Australian society.

This exhibition celebrates the enduring significance of Dodd’s pioneering vision and the Gallery’s important recent acquisition of this major body of work. It includes Dodd’s sculptures, film, costumes and props, as well as prints and photographs made by the artist’s contemporaries, Doug Nicholas, Jan Mackay and Clay Glen. On display in Gallery 17.

Margaret Dodd says, “It is doubly thrilling to have This Woman is Not a Car acquired by the Art Gallery of South Australia as well as to have the honour of a SALA exhibition of the works, the film and props, harking back to when the Gallery presented them as a Link Exhibition in 1977. Sadly, forty years later, in Australia, women’s work as mothers remains undervalued and Indigenous women and children in Australia are suffering the trauma of a new Stolen Generation.

‘Thank you so much to the curators, Leigh Robb, Rebecca Evans and Elle Freak for fulfilling my long held wish that all the works could be kept together, and especially to the Lorraine Hossack Fund for making it all possible.”


Tom Moore draws on ancient glass-blowing techniques to create sculptures that burst with colour and narrative, morphing creatures and machines into wild forms.

This display features Tom Moore’s fantastical glass creatures, purchased for the collection in 2019 with the support of the Gallery’s Contemporary Collectors, alongside work selected by Moore from the Gallery’s vast decorative arts collection. Installed in a cabinet adjacent to AGSA’s permanent exhibition of Morris & Co. material, Moore’s intervention highlights the enduring legacy of craft and design in South Australia.

Tom Moore says, ‘There’s certainly a lot for artists to be concerned by in these uncertain times, so it’s especially gratifying to team-up with a cultural institution to celebrate human creativity and ingenuity. I am grateful for the opportunity to see and select objects from the AGSA collections to show alongside some of my own. My work is driven by the joy of practising the ancient craft of glassblowing to make eccentric characters. I enjoy blurring the boundaries between humans and other creatures with the aim of addressing the dread of environmental collapse with hope and humour.’

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