New Aboriginal Art Festival for South Australia

TarnanthiA new world-class Aboriginal visual arts festival to be known as Tarnanthi will be held in South Australia in October 2015. The announcement follows the release last year of a State Government policy to establish a high-end Aboriginal art festival in South Australia to be supported by the State Government, the Art Gallery of South Australia and principal sponsor BHP Billiton.

In making the announcement, Premier Jay Weatherill said: “We have an ambitious goal of making South Australia the international portal for Aboriginal visual art. Tarnanthi will showcase contemporary works of art created by artists from the oldest continuous living culture on earth.”

“The festival will include a series of exhibitions, artist workshops, a symposium and an art fair. The name beautifully captures both the vision of this Festival and the importance of celebrating language throughout the program.”

Tarnanthi (TAR-NAN-DEE) – a Kaurna word developed with Kaurna Warra Pintyanthi at the University of Adelaide, meaning “to come forth, as in the sun and the first emergence of light, or of a seed sprouting.”

The Premier also revealed that Carclew Aboriginal arts development manager Lee-Ann Buckskin and former commissioner for Aboriginal engagement Klynton Wanganeen would co-chair its advisory committee, while artist and curator Nici Cumpston has been appointed as Artistic Director.

“It will showcase the best work being created by highly respected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from across the nation,” said Buckskin and Wanganeen.

“It will challenge perceptions of what Aboriginal art is, and remind us all that this is a living culture with an art practice that is celebrated internationally.”

The Premier has also announced the advisory board that will provide advice to festival organisers: Khatija Thomas (Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement), Dr Lewis O’Brien AO (Kaurna Elder), David Miller (Ananguku Arts), Philip Watkins (Desart), Simone Tur (Yunggorendi, Flinders Uni), Mandy Brown (Country Arts SA) and Tracey Whiting (Art Gallery Board representative).

Tarnanthi will be presented in partnership with a range of cultural institutions around the state. Organisers are currently in discussions with artists, curators and collectors across the country to bring together the elements of the festival. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: courtesy of Tarnanthi