BHP Billiton, the State Government of South Australia and Art Gallery of South Australia will today announce a truly impressive $17.54 million partnership to present the TARNANTHI Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art annually until 2021. BHP Billiton’s investment in TARNANTHI marks Australia’s largest financial contribution by a corporate organisation to the local cultural sector.

Presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia, TARNANTHI will be an annual, city wide festival and market for community art centres, with a major offering every two years at the Art Gallery “ in 2017, 19 and 21 – from next October.

2015’s inaugural event offered the first really national platform for important stories to be seen and heard in Adelaide, and TARNANTHI will continue to offer access to the best of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art from around the country, with all the benefits of long-term planning.

The inaugural TARNANTHI Festival of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art was presented in 2015 by the Art Gallery of South Australia in partnership with BHP Billiton, whose huge Olympic Dam mine is in SA, and the Government of SA.

It was the largest Aboriginal art event ever staged in South Australia, showcasing 1,068 artists across the Gallery and 22 partner exhibitions, and an Art Fair that featured twenty art centres from around the country. The Art Fair attracted 5,500 visitors and generated over $450,000 in direct sales to artists and art centres, over the two-day event.

The breadth and diversity of the inaugural festival was well received by audiences who’d jetted in from across the country, with total attendances at all TARNANTHI exhibitions and events exceeding 311,000.

Premier Jay Weatherill commented: Our first TARNANTHI festival was a massive success and this massive investment by BHP means it can now become a regular fixture in our artistic calendar. It is clear that projects of this nature can have a significant effect on advancing our shared objectives, resulting in a lively legacy with economic, civic and cultural outcomes for Aboriginal people and South Australia as a whole. We want to build on the legacy of TARANTHI and make South Australia the international hub for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture.

Could this thought by the Premier have anything to do with the recent $100,000 donation to the SA Museum which could lead to the establishment of a much-needed Indigenous Cultural Centre in Adelaide?

Jacqui McGill, Asset President, BHP Billiton Olympic Dam added: Following the success of the inaugural TARNANTHI Festival in 2015, BHP Billiton is really proud to be able to support this incredible art event for a further five years. More than 14,000 young people enjoyed the education and children’s program in 2015. Over the next five years, we look forward to an even bigger celebration with further cultural and economic development opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.