Tarnanthi | Celebration of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art & Culture | 17 Oct 2019 – 27 Jan 2020


Ryan Presley, Marri Ngarr people, Northern Territory, born 1987, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Blood Money – Infinite Dollar Note – Dundalli, Commemorative, 2018, Brisbane, watercolour on paper; Collection of Bernard Shafer, Image courtesy the artist and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, © Ryan Presley, photo: Carl Warner.

Tarnanthi – Australia’s largest celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture

Adelaide, Australia: Tarnanthi: Festival of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art 2019 will feature the work of more than 1,000 artists from around Australia in exhibitions at the Art Gallery of South Australia and venues across South Australia, as well as an art fair.

This year’s Festival will be launched at AGSA on the night of 17 October 2019 by special guests including internationally acclaimed Yolŋu artist and ceremonial leader, Djambawa Marawili AM; Yolŋu award-winning rap sensation and Australian of the Year, Baker Boy, as well as performances by artists from the Tiwi Islands and from northeast Arnhem Land. More than 300 artists from across Australia will be welcomed to Adelaide to join in the opening weekend celebrations.


Iwantja Arts Young Women’s Film Project featuring Kaylene Whiskey, Leena Baker, Leonie Cullinan, Betty Muffler, 2019; Image courtesy the artists and Iwantja Arts, This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, and the Government of South Australia, Department of the Premer and Cabinet through Arts South Australia.

Participating artists from fifteen to eighty-one years of age, while works of art spann range of mediums across painting, photography, printmaking, carving, sculpture, moving image, works on paper, textiles and performance.

At AGSA, Artists from Buku-Larrŋgay Mulka Centre, a tropical hothouse of creativity at Yirrkala in north-east Arnhem Land, will present a project titled Gurruṯu at AGSA, which explores the intricate knowledge system that connects people and the universe across time.


Sharon Adamson, Pukatja (Ernabella), South Australia, 2019; photo: Tjala Arts.

Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones has curated Bunha-bunhanga: Aboriginal agriculture in the south-east. As the first visual representation of the ground-breaking research of award-winning author, Bruce Pascoe, Jones unites historical landscape paintings and drawings from around the country with rarely seen Aboriginal agricultural tools from museum collections in the Gallery’s historic Elder Wing. The project will also encompass an exhibition at the Museum of Economic Botany in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens

A truly South Australian collaboration for Tarnanthi 2019 is that between JamFactory and Ninuku Arts in the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands. Glass blown at JamFactory was sent north to Kalka, where artists hand-painted the glass ‘starter bubbles’ with their characteristic designs and fired them in Ninuku’s new kiln. The bubbles then travelled back to Adelaide to undergo their final transformation, by being expertly blown into large glass vessels at JamFactory, where the works will be presented.


Warakurna artist Cynthia Burke weaving; photo: Rhett Hammerton.

A highlight over the opening weekend is the annual Tarnanthi Art Fair at Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute. The Tarnanthi Art Fair is committed to the ethical production and purchase of works of art, with all proceeds from sales going directly to the artists and art centres. It is also a unique opportunity to meet artists firsthand about the works of art available for sale. Tarnanthi Art Fair adheres to the Indigenous Art Code.

Across the opening weekend, a full program of public events, artist talks, performances will be open to the public. Held exclusively over the opening weekend at AGSA, artist Ryan Presley’s Blood Money Currency Exchange Terminal will offer visitors the opportunity to exchange Australian dollars (AUD) for various denominations of limited-edition Blood Money Dollars (BMD). Based on Presley’s series of watercolour paintings, money raised will go to Aboriginal youth programs and exchange rates may fluctuate.


Angkaliya Nelson and Jennifer Mintaya Ward in a wiltja, Aralya, South Australia; Image courtesy the artist and Nikuku Arts, photo: Meg Hansen.

Key Events:

Tarnanthi Launch | Thursday 17 October 2019 at 6pm | AGSA Forecourt, North Terrace | FREE

The night begins on the AGSA forecourt with a Kaurna Welcome to Country. Tarnanthi 2019 will be opened by Djambawa Marawili AM, celebrated Yolŋu artist and ceremonial leader of the Maḏarrpa clan, appointed to the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council in 2014. Enjoy a performance by Yolŋu award-winning rap sensation Baker Boy. Then head inside AGSA and be the first to experience Tarnanthi at AGSA. The entertainment continues into the night with more great live music. Refreshments are available for purchase.

Tarnanthi at AGSA | 18 October 2019 – 27 January 2020 | FREE 

Tarnanthi includes a series of exhibitions, artist talks, performances and events, presented in partnership with key cultural institutions across South Australia. At its heart is an ambitious exhibition of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the Art Gallery of South Australia. This Gallery wide exhibition will present works of art from studios, art centres, institutions and communities from as far east as the Torres Strait to the heart of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands and beyond.

Tarnanthi Art Fair | 18 – 20 October 2019 | FREE ENTRY

The Tarnanthi Art Fair, held at Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute presents 50 art centres from across Australia during the Festival’s opening weekend. Festival-goers, collectors and art enthusiasts have the opportunity to meet and acquire works of art direct from artists. The Tarnanthi Art Fair brings together urban, regional, emerging and established artists from across the nation exclusively to Adelaide, offering a remarkably diverse range of works across media. Art Gallery of South Australia is a member of the Indigenous Art Code and is committed to the ethical purchase of works of art. All proceeds go directly to the artist and art centre. The Tarnanthi Art Fair is presented in partnership with Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute.


For more information and all enquiries please visit the AGSA website.

What:   Tarnanthi

When:    Thursday 17 October 2019 – 27 January 2020 

Where:   Various locations across Adelaide & South Australia

Who:   Everyone

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

Image Source: Supplied


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