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Open Hands: 2020 Tarnanthi exhibition announced


The creativity of First Nations women artists will be highlighted in this year’s Tarnanthi exhibition at the Art Gallery of SA from October 16, with a “COVID-safe” version of the popular Tarnanthi Art Fair to take place in early December.

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Celebrating contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, the Tarnanthi exhibition is held annually and for 2020 will feature works by 87 artists from across Australia.

They will include works on paper using ink and paint, photography, moving image, sound installation, weaving, ceramics, sculpture, painting and pyrography.

Open Hands celebrates the ongoing and often unseen work that women in communities do to maintain culture,” says curator and Barkandji artist Nici Cumpston.

“Keeping these stories alive and sharing knowledge is deeply embedded within everyday cultural life across Australia.”

Ngalbenbe (sun story), a mixed-media installation by Lena Yarinkura. Photo: Grant Hancock

Among the works on show will be Far North Queensland artist Naomi Hobson’s Adolescent Wonderland, a series of photographic portraits of young people, accompanied by quirky captions, that tell the stories of life in her community of Coen.

Open Hands will also feature vibrant paintings of life in Mparntwe (Alice Springs) that have been transformed into animations by artists from Tangentyere Art Centre; an installation of woven sculptures made from natural materials by Lena Yarinkura and her daughter Yolanda Rostron, from Central Arnhem Land; and new works from artists in South Australia’s Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands that see stories etched into wood, photography and works on paper.

The annual Tarnanthi Art Fair will this year be held in early December, with the Art Gallery of SA saying it is being designed as a COVID-safe event with a curated display of works for sale, “carefully selected by the art centres”.

The exhibition will run from October 16 until January 31, 2021.

Niningka’s Tjukurpa Board II, by Niningka Lewis. Courtesy the artist and Maruku Arts

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