For this year’s TARNANTHI Festival, Dallas Gold from Raft Artspace and Kade McDonald from Hanging Valley have selected works that highlight the unique vision of the Ngaanyatjarra Lands.
To be held at Praxis ARTSPACE, the exhibition NG Salon shows the experimental nature of the artists in the region. The exhibition coincides with the South Australian Museum’s Ngurra.
“The artists of the Ngaanyatjarra Lands are continuously pushing their painting practice and, like all artists, they are not averse to experimenting with new media,” Gold says.
Work by Nola Campbell
Most of the work in the exhibition is by senior artists: Katjarra Butler, Esther Giles, Nyarapayi Giles, Bob Gibson, Neville McArthur, Nola Campbell and Fred Ward. There will also be a short video by Patrick Green along with some other video documentary.
Gold and McDonald have been following the artists’ work in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands for more than a decade and NG Salon presents what they believe to be the best examples of their practice.
“We have been observing the development of a very expressive visual language,” Gold says. “Some of the works are bold, colourful and breathtaking in their confidence — other works by the older artists, such as Neville McArthur, are stripped back to the bones, marks of authority void of any embellishment.”
Work by Esther Giles
The exhibition title NG Salon references the Salon des Indépendants, the annual exhibition held in Paris during the 19th century that was the alternative to the official Salon. The Salon des Indépendants was about breaking with tradition and turning against authority, and the NG Salon embodies similar ideals. It presents a variety of media, both contemporary and traditional, which has a deep connection to country and culture. “In my experience working with Indigenous artists for the past 17 years, they will use whatever is on hand to make strong statements alluding to connection to country and a sophisticated knowledge system,” Gold says.
Work by Nola Campbell
NG Salon celebrates the history of this unique region that has already produced iconic artworks such as Tjanpi Toyota, the Warakurna History Paintings and the Warburton Collection. The exhibition also looks towards the future.
Gold says: “We are hoping that audiences get a sense of a very exciting genre of art — and, as with all the events happening during TARNANTHI, celebrate the amazing and continuously evolving movement that is art by Indigenous Australians.”
Header image: Work by Nyarapayi Giles