TARNANTHI: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art

Spring is set to herald an exciting new era for showcasing Indigenous art in South Australia with the unveiling of TARNANTHI, the inaugural Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art.

Based primarily in the Art Gallery of South Australia, the festival will launch on Thursday, October 8 and run until Sunday, October 18, with some exhibitions continuing until January 2016. TARNANTHI, a Kaurna word meaning ‘to come forth or appear’, will offer new perspectives on the art of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in a series of showcases presented in partnership with leading South Australian cultural institutions. Artistic Director Nici Cumpston has worked with artists and organisations across the country to bring the exhibition to South Australia, as well as supporting individuals, communities and institutions in creating new works. “Not many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists are featured in exhibitions in the Art Gallery on a large scale — TARNANTHI provides an opportunity for them to exhibit their work alongside their national peers,” states Cumpston. JF-SAM-Shimmer-Lee With 30 partners, 22 exhibitions and more than 300 participating artists, Cumpston and her team are eager to unveil the most ambitious showcase of Indigenous art in the 134-year history of the Art Gallery. “Seeing works come into the gallery has been the most rewarding part of the process so far,” says Cumpston. “After the to-and-fro of information with artists and organisers, watching it all come to life has been incredible.” Displaying the works in innovative ways – to demonstrate the diversity of artists and experiences represented – has been a pivotal aspect of the planning process. The first thing exhibition-goers will encounter upon entering the Gallery is Melbourne-based artist Yhonnie Scarce’s installation of more than 2,000 suspended blown-glass yams, embodying a visual exploration of the Maralinga nuclear bomb blasts between 1953 and 1963. The festival will also feature a handpicked survey of Yvonne Koolmatrie’s woven forms created during the last 30 years. With more than 60 artworks being displayed in one space, Cumpston states that it will make for a highly immersive and incredible experience. Brian-Robinson--Custodians-of-the-blooms The festival will open on a high with the TARNANTHI Art Fair at Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute on Grenfell Street. This event will provide an opportunity to purchase works from more than 40 art centres across Australia as well as from independent South Australian artists, with prices ranging from $20 to $10,000. TARNANTHI is set to be an extraordinary and unique event that will challenge past perceptions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artwork.   TARNANTHI Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Thursday, October 8 to Sunday, October 18 tarnanthi.com.au   Image credits: Nganmarra: The Container of Life Frances Djulibing Daingangan, Mary Dhapalany, Robyn Djunginy, Julie Djulibing Malibirr and  Evonne Munuyngu. detail of installation view: Nganmarra – the container of life, 2015 Gunga (pandanus spiralis) & natural dyes Courtesy the artists and Bula’bula Arts, Ramingining Photo: Grant Hancock   Yhonnie Scarce: Thunder Raining Poison, Blown glass yams, Yhonnie Scarce, 2015, Courtesy the artist  Photo: Anna Fenech Harris   Shimmer, Grace Lillian Lee Woven neck piece and hand dyed silk, 2013, cotton and silk , Courtesy the artist Image taken during NZ Fashion Week, November 2013 at the Miramoda Showcase

Custodian of the Blooms, 2014  Brian Robinson, Wuthathi and Maluyligal people, Torres Strait Islands mixed media, Image courtesy of the artist and Mossenson Galleries

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