Tarnanthi, the Art Gallery of South Australia’s Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art, returns for the fourth time in October. Internationally acclaimed and recognised as the largest festival of its kind every second year, Tarnanthi 2019 includes a major exhibition at the Art Gallery, a city-wide festival held at close to 30 partner venues and a dynamic Art Fair presented over the opening weekend.

The word ˜Tarnanthi’ (pronounced tar-nan-dee) comes from the language of the Kaurna people, the traditional owners of the Adelaide Plains. It means ‘to come forth or appear’ “ like the sun and the first emergence of light. Tarnanthi presents the forefront of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art from across the country and provides an energised platform for artists to share important stories and try new aspects of their practice.

Tarnanthi 2019 will feature over 1000 artists from the length and breadth of the continent; from the Tiwi Islands to Broken Hill, Ceduna to Port Hedland.

The Festival’s creative vision is led by Barkindji artist and curator, Artistic Director Nici Cumpston. Cumpston says ˜Tarnanthi has brought people from across the country to Adelaide. It is an absolute privilege to bring this exceptional art experience to audiences. The artists are testament to the rich diversity of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, and we are eager for these important stories, and this calibre of art, to be shared with our growing audiences.

This year’s Tarnanthi Art Fair will also bring together almost fifty art centres from remote Australia, including Tjanpi Desert Weavers, who return for the fourth time to the Fair. Tarnanthi Art Fair provides visitors with the opportunity to acquire works of art, with 100% of the proceeds going to the artists and art centres.

SA Premier, Steven Marshall is delighted to see the return of the nationally celebrated Festival and says, Not only is Tarnanthi creating a collaborative and nationally acclaimed platform to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artistic talent, the Festival has also generated tens of millions of dollars into our State’s economy. We are thrilled that South Australia is home to this inspiring and influential project..

Laura Tyler, Asset President, Olympic Dam, from the Festival’s principal sponsor, BHP says, BHP values the longstanding partnership with Art Gallery of South Australia through Tarnanthi. We are enormously proud of this partnership that continues to build on our foundation of social investment, cultural sustainability and economic empowerment that creates lasting benefits.

Highlights Tarnanthi 2019

This year’s Tarnanthi exhibition at AGSA includes works of art by artists ranging from fifteen to eighty-one years of age, and spanning a range of media across painting, photography, printmaking, carving, sculpture, moving image, works on paper and textiles.

From Arnhem Land: Works by YolÅ‹u artists form a key component of the Art Gallery exhibition. The project, Gurruṯu, includes work from outstanding artists working through the Buku-LarrÅ‹gay Mulka Centre, a tropical hothouse of creativity at Yirrkala. The project explores ˜Gurruṯu‘ “ a knowledge system that connects people and the universe across time. Among the artists are internationally acclaimed artist Djambawa Marawili, NATSIA Award-winner and digital media innovator Wukun Wanambi, and inspired maverick Gunybi Ganambarr, the winner of last year’s Big Telstra at the NATSIAAs.

Young multi-media artist Ishmael Marika says, Gurruṯu is the connections to the land and to the sea through paintings. Everything is connected by Gurruṯu and linked to Songlines, back through people, plants and animals.

A collaboration: Curated by Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones, Bunha-bunhanga: Aboriginal agriculture in the south-east is the first-ever representation through visual art of the ground-breaking research of award-winning author, Bruce Pascoe into pre-colonial land-use practices. For Bunha-bunhanga, Jones unites historical landscape paintings and drawings from around the country with rarely seen Aboriginal agricultural tools from museum collections.

From South Australia’s Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands: A number of projects from the APY Lands will be featured in Tarnanthi 2019, from moving image works, to photography, installation, sculpture and painting. From Mimili Maku Arts, senior artist Betty Ngupulya Pumani will present her most ambitious work to date, a triptych entitled Antara, a three-panelled painting that depicts the Maku Tjukurpa (Witchetty Grub ancestral creation story) two important rock holes and ceremony sites near Mimili.

At its heart, Tarnanthi is a series of exhibitions, artists talks, performances and events, showcasing and celebrating contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art.

The full Tarnanthi 2019 program will be announced in August.

Tarnanthi City Wide Festival | 18-27 October 2019
Tarnanthi Art Fair | 18-20 October 2019
Tarnanthi at AGSA | 18 October 2019 “ 27 January 2020