Adelaide welcomes the new creative works of over 1,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from today, with the launch of the 2017 TARNANTHI Festival.

This is the second time the TARNANTHI Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art has been held, after the successful 2015 program garnered support for it to continue for at least five more years.

“TARNANTHI takes the pulse of Aboriginal art across Australia right now” Art Gallery of SA Director Nick Mitzevich told a crowd at the Gallery this morning.

“It’s about ensuring Indigenous cultures thrive and grow.  It shows us the power of people coming together to make amazing things

“Art is the answer. It’s the answer about our history, our present and our future” he said.

TARNANTHI focusses on contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, providing artists with opportunities to create new work and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to extend the practices they have been developing in studios, art centres and communities.

Bringing together a large national exhibition like TARNANTHI takes a lot of collaboration and hard work, Artistic Director Nici Cumpston told Aboriginal Way.

“There’s been a lot of conversations, a lot of phone calls, a lot of images being shifted across country” she said.

Visitors to TARNANTHI have a unique opportunity, Nici Cumpson believes.

“They’ll get to see the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and the way that the artists are working in all different mediums and using those mediums to share their stories, whether it’s a funny story or whether it’s a really deep hard story to tell and so it’s really teaching people about culture, its teaching people about different aspects of life, it’s sharing love stories, all sorts of different things to be able to learn from going to visit all the different exhibitions around the city

Marita Baker is an artist from Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, her work is a part of the Tjungu Palya – Painting on Country project on display at the Gallery.

The artists paint stories directly onto rock and large colour photos hanging at the Gallery display both their country and art work.

“This one here, my father’s home and I paint the dreaming about emu” Marita Baker told Aboriginal Way

“I really like to show my country, my father’s country, because we always bring our children to learn more things about emu dreaming and bring the kids for swimming and they swim here”

“It’s good to show our country you know because the people, they only see the painting on the canvas, but this time we like to show our country.”

TARNTANTHI launches Thursday 12 October, from 5.30pm at the Art Gallery of SATARNANTHI Art Fair Friday 13 October – Sunday 15 October 

TARNANTHI Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art runs from 13 to 22 October 2017, with TARNANTHI at the Gallery continuing until 28 January 2018


SANTS acknowledges that the land on which our office is based is the traditional lands for the Kaurna people and we respect their spiritual and cultural relationship with their country