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Preview of Highly Anticipated Aboriginal And Torrens Straight Islander Tarnanthi Program Revealed

More than 300 artists from across Australia will showcase work in TARNANTHI (TAR-nan-dee), the inaugural Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Tjanpi basket and hand painted beads, Mimili Maku Arts, Mimili, South Australia  Photograph John Montesi, 2015

Tjanpi basket and hand painted beads, Mimili Maku Arts, Mimili, South Australia
Photograph John Montesi, 2015

More than 300 artists from across Australia will showcase work in TARNANTHI (TAR-nan-dee), the inaugural Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, at the Art Gallery of South Australia from 8-18 October with exhibitions continuing until 17 January 2016. TARNANTHI is presented in partnership with BHP Billiton and supported by the Government of South Australia.

In collaboration with 21 key cultural organisations across Adelaide, and with its heart at the Art Gallery of South Australia, TARNANTHI casts new light on Australia’s rich and diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture.

Today, the Gallery revealed a preview of the highly anticipated program, including a national Art Fair and details of three exhibitions – Bush Footy at the Gallery, Shimmer at the JamFactory and South Australian Museum, and Nganmarra: The Container of Life at the Santos Museum of Economic Botany in Adelaide Botanic Garden.

TARNANTHI Artistic Director Nici Cumpston said “TARNANTHI is about bringing people together to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of work being created by contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from across the country.  With exhibitions at the Gallery and across the city, TARNANTHI will challenge and delight audiences.”

A major highlight of the Festival’s opening weekend will be the TARNANTHI Art Fair at Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute. Opening at 5pm on Friday 9 October, the Art Fair will provide an opportunity to buy works of art directly from more than 40 art centres from across the country as well as from independent South Australian artists.  Priced from $50 to $10,000 the Art Fair will appeal to those buying their first work of art as well as dedicated collectors.

Welcoming audiences to the exhibition at the Gallery is Bush Footy, a series of carvings and paintings celebrating AFL by husband and wife Dinny Kunoth Kemarre and Josie Kunoth Petyarre. Whatever your code, the atmosphere created in these paintings and sculptures will challenge the assertion that art and sport map opposite ends of the cultural spectrum.

JamFactory and the South Australian Museum (SAM) will present Shimmer, featuring new works of art by eight artists Sebastian Arrow, Tamara Baillie, Maree Clarke, Janet Fieldhouse, Dale Harding, Grace Lillian Lee and Vicki West responding to the SAM collections exploring the concept of adornment.

Nganmarra: The Container of Life, at the Santos Museum of Economic Botany in Adelaide Botanic Garden features woven conical mats made by senior Yolngu artists from Bula’Bula Arts at Ramingining in North East Arnhem Land: Frances Djulibing Daingangan, Mary Dhapalany, Robyn Djunginy, Julie Djulibing Malibirr and  Evonne Munuyngu. Using a combination of traditional methods and new techniques, the artists express themselves and their culture through woven fibre.

Gallery Director Nick Mitzevich said “This Festival celebrates the role that artists play in shaping our world. By encouraging emerging artists to make new work, supporting established artists to present to new audiences and honouring respected and established artists through the presentation of their work in new ways, TARNANTHI has kept a strong focus on artists.”

TARNANTHI is being championed by the Premier Jay Weatherill who said “As a creative, industrious and innovative state, South Australia seeks to lead the nation through its festivals and events, and TARNANTHI represents a significant milestone in achieving that objective. I commend the artists featured in TARNANTHI to anyone seeking to better understand the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.”

TARNANTHI’s full program including public events, artist talks and workshops will be released soon.

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