Presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia in partnership with BHP and with support from the Government of South Australia, the Tarnanthi Festival 2017, which showcases Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, is breaking new ground following its inaugural success in 2015, when total attendances exceeded 300,000.
Across South Australia and across the city of Adelaide from October 13 – 22 2017 a series of exhibitions, artist talks, performances and events will be presented in partnership with key cultural institutions.
Jacqui McGill, Asset President, BHP Olympic Dam has been quoted as saying ‘BHP is proud to be involved with TARNANTHI again after the success of the event in 2015. The extension of our partnership for a further five years, means an even bigger celebration – involving greater participation from young people and those from regional areas right across Australia. The partnership provides sustainable economic streams for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that will make a difference for generations to come. We are excited to make this contribution as part of our long-term commitment to South Australia and our support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.’
Barkindji artist and curator for the festival Nici Cumpston is all about encouraging new beginnings by providing artists with opportunities and a platform on which to create significant new work. She’s inviting them to extend the practices they have been developing in studios, art centres, institutions and communities and extend their vision beyond the boundaries people and places often impose.
Drawing on artists from across the nation, this year’s Tarnanthi Festival will have a focus on the seven art centres spanning the South Australian Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands.
An ambitious exhibition involving over 1,000 artists of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the Art Gallery of South Australia will present works from studios, art centres, institutions and communities from as far-east as the Torres Strait, to the heart of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands and beyond.
The Tarnanthi Art Fair will be held in more than 40 art centres. 200 artists from across Australia are involved during the Festival’s opening weekend.
Art production is a key source of income for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and the fair will bring together urban, regional, emerging and established artists from across the nation exclusively to Adelaide. Festivalgoers, collectors and art enthusiasts will be able to meet and greet the artists and make purchases from $50 – $5,000.
Nici Cumpston commented ‘These artists are embodying the essence of breaking new ground with their art making. Through years of experience and presenting their work across the country, they are now driving their own practise to ambitious new levels. TARNANTHI presents an opportunity to listen to where the artists want to take their ideas and then support them to achieve their vision,’ said Ms Cumpston.
At the heart of this festival is the sharing of cultural knowledge.
South Australian Minister for the Arts Jack Snelling said: ‘The South Australian Government is proud to support an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led, internationally regarded, visual art festival of this scale. Tarnanthi is a unique opportunity to celebrate the cultural diversity of First Nation artists in South Australia and across the Country. As the gateway to central Australia, we are uniquely placed to present an important cultural event like TARNANTHI that delivers significant economic, education and community benefit.’
The Tarnanthi Festival 2017 full program, will be announced in August.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2017