The TARNANTHI Festival of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art will become a regular fixture in Adelaide’s annual roster, with a $17.54 m deal between the Art Gallery of SA, State Government and BHP Billiton.
In a release to the media, Premier Jay Weatherill attributed the event’s renewal to its “massive success” in 2015 and said that “this massive investment by BHP means it can now become a regular fixture in our annual artistic calendar.”
“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,” said Weatherill.
The deal, which amounts to Australia’s largest ever corporate contribution to the cultural sector will see TARNANTHI funded until 2021. BHP Billiton Olympic Dam Asset President Jacqui McGill also praised the work of TARNANTHI, saying that BHP is “really proud to be able to support this incredible art event for a further five years,” and touted the “cultural and economic development opportunities” the festival provides for Indigenous peoples.
“Over 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 greater involvement not only from young people but also regional areas right across Australia,” she said.
The TARNANTHI Art Fair held at Tandanya in 2015 (photo: Ben Searcy)
The inaugural TARNANTHI was presented in 2015 with the support of the same partners, and showcased 1068 artists at the Art Gallery of SA and 22 partner exhibitions. Throughout its tenure it attracted more than 311 000 attendees. Furthermore, the two-day TARNANTHI Art Fair attracted 5500 visitors and drew more than $450 000 in direct sales to artists and the participating art centres.
TARNANTHI will continue as an annual city-wide festival with further events held across the regions. It will also host a major exhibition and offering at the Art Gallery of SA every two years, beginning in October 2017.
Art Gallery of SA Director Nick Mitzevich said that “TARNANTHI has shed light on Aboriginal art and culture in a way that we have never seen before.”
“This five year commitment by BHP Billiton and the State Government will enable the legacy of TARNANTHI to continue and provide long term opportunities for artists and communities across Australia.”
Header image: Kulata Tjuta Inma and Installation, 9 October 2015, Government House, Adelaide, Photographer: Ben Searcy