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A taste of the dynamism and diversity on show during Tarnanthi


On the eve of the 2023 Tarnanthi Festival, artistic director Nici Cumpston highlights some of the diverse contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art on show at the Art Gallery of SA – from delightful animations and unique sculptural works, to paintings inspired by a love of rock music.

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A free performance by singer-songwriter Dan Sultan on the AGSA forecourt on North Terrace is part of the celebrations planned to mark the opening of Tarnanthi tomorrow night, while the popular Tarnanthi Art Fair will see works from more than 50 art centres across Australia offered for sale over three days this weekend at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre and online.

This year’s festival will showcase the work of 1500-plus First Nations artists in more than 36 exhibitions and events at different venues across the city and state.

Here, Tarnanthi artistic director Nici Cumpston highlights a selection of the exhibitions at the Art Gallery of South Australia, plus a special collaborative exhibition bringing together work by artists from regional SA.

Vincent Namatjira – Australia in colour

Vincent Namatjira is an acclaimed Western Aranda portraitist who offers a wry look at Australian identity, politics and power from a contemporary Aboriginal perspective. Australia in colour is the first-ever survey exhibition of his work, showcasing both his dry wit and his burgeoning artistic practice. It brings together paintings, works on paper, and moving image from public and private collections nationwide.

Kala kunbolk – Colour country

Injalak artists from Gunbalanya, in western Arnhem Land, weave works of art using pandanus leaves hand dyed with natural dyes that they make from plants – from flowers, seeds, berries and roots. Kala kunbolk highlights how the artists’ intimate understanding of Country uncovers and releases these colours, while also showcasing their mastery as weavers of bowls and baskets.

Arrkutja Tharra, Kungka Kutjara, Two Girls

Sally M Nangala Mulda and Marlene Rubuntja grew up together in the 1960s at Amoonguna, outside Mparntwe (Alice Springs), lost touch, then reunited decades later through their art. The story of their overlapping lives is told in this delightful moving-image work, which features animations of Sally’s paintings and Marlene’s soft sculptures.

Two Girls: Sally M Nangala Mulda and Marlene Rubuntja with their works, 2023; courtesy of ACMI, Artbank, Tangentyere Artists and Yarrenyty Arltere Artists. Photo: Bec Capp

Iwantja – Iriti / Kuwari / Titutjara (Then / Now / Always)

This display celebrates 40 years of Iwantja Art Centre as the creative heart of Indulkana, a community in the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in northern South Australia. It includes paintings, works on paper and moving image by several of Iwantja’s distinguished artists. A book of the same name has been released to mark the 40th anniversary.

Judith Inkamala – Atha Yia Nukanha Ilama – I gotta tell my story / I’m telling my story

This selection of works pays tribute to Judith Inkamala and her three decades as a potter from Hermannsburg Potters. Her works share the stories of her life through hand-built and hand-painted ceramic forms.

Judith Pungarta Inkamala with her work for Tarnanthi 2023 at Ntaria (Hermannsburg) in the Northern Territory. Photo: Bec Capp

Juluwarlu Art Group – Ngundamurri

This moving-image work and installation of finely crafted ceremonial objects celebrates a major men’s ngunda (dance and song gathering) on Yindjibarndi Country in the Pilbara region. The ngunda was created with many community members under the guidance of Juluwarlu CEO Michael Woodley and birlagurda (craftsman) Wayne Stevens.

Tiger Yaltangki – Wanangaṟa – Lightning

Tiger Yaltangki’s self-portraits and painted incursions into classic AC/DC rock posters reflect his love of rock music, inserting himself and his community of Indulkana into these scenes. He may live in the desert far from his idols, but he brings them dynamically into his life.

Tiger Yaltangki, Yankunytjatjara people, South Australia; AC/DC from the series Wanangara–Lightning, 2021, Indulkana. © Tiger Yaltangki/Iwantja Arts

Bugai Whyoulter – Wantili

This series of subtle yet dynamic paintings captures Bugai Whyoulter’s memories and experiences of living and driving cattle near Wantili, on the Canning Stock Route in Western Australia. Her paintings reflect ancestral stories of the creation of natural features in the landscape, seasonal changes and her family’s movement towards vital water sources.

Kunmanara (Ngilan) Dodd – Waya munu wuulta – Wire and wool

Kunmanara (Ngilan) Dodd’s remarkable sculptural work, made from reclaimed fencing wire bound in wool, articulates the shape and concept of wiltja (shelter) while reflecting on a bygone era of pastoral work for Aṉangu in northern South Australia.

Saltbush Country

Saltbush Country is one of 36 exhibitions and events presented at Tarnanthi partner venues across Adelaide and around the state over the next few months. This exhibition (part of the Regional Tarnanthi initiative, developed and presented in partnership with Country Arts SA) features remarkable works by seven independent regional South Australian artists, telling stories of their culture, community and connections to Country. It is showing at Port Pirie Regional Art Gallery until November 5, then at Kerry Packer Civic Gallery from November 16 until March 22.

Details of opening weekend events, including the Tarnanthi Art Fair and artist talks, can be found on the AGSA website. A full list of Tarnanthi partner exhibitions and events across the city and state can be found here.

This article is republished from InReview under a Creative Commons licence. Read the original article.

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