2020 SALA Festival kicks off in South Australia

Alex-Liebelt-Helix-Made-by-MetalThe 23rd South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival celebrates South Australia’s visual artists throughout August. The 2020 program is a dynamic mix of exhibitions with over 5500 artists participating in over 500 exhibitions across Adelaide, throughout regional SA and online.

Australia’s largest community based open access visual arts festival will run from 1 – 31 August supporting artists from amateur level to more established artists across a broad range of disciplines including painting, drawing, digital filmmaking, ceramics, textiles, sculpture, installation and more.

This year’s themes include COVID-19 lockdown / isolation, the environment, migration, identity, social change, connection and nature offering a wide range of topics to explore and reflect on throughout August. Whilst the current climate has presented a number of challenges, this year’s SALA artists have channelled their creativity into their projects both behind closed doors and out in the open in new and unique ways.

Artists have not let the various restrictions impede their practice but instead have pressed the re-set button and demonstrated ingenuity and originality in their approach, coming up with innovative ways to exhibit and express their concepts and ideas.

Some of these include Sally Parnis’ Haven exhibition on display in her front yard, Southwest Contemporary drive-up video exhibition Project 7 The Video Show in Sturt Street, Don Connor’s In the Park paintings will be hung in trees in Forestville Reserve, ACE Open take over Lot Fourteen’s outdoor screens throughout August and Last Nights In Cities is situated in an old shopfront at VERGEspace in Kilkenny. Further afield 10 Barossa Digital Artists Projection Trail will see nightly projections of self-portraits projected at venues around Tanunda and SALA is at the silos this year with Karoonda Silo Art – Nightly Projections.

“This year while we all adjust to a changing way of life, artists are responding and interpreting through their arts practice,” said SALA Festival CEO Kate Moskwa. “In SALA’s continually growing program we see exhibitions which examine topics such as isolation, bushfires, domestic interiors, returning to nature, and the ongoing effects of a global pandemic. We also see artists in the program using escapism to create worlds beyond our current reality.”

“With a combination of online and physical venues in the program this year we encourage you to have a hybrid SALA experience. It’s the perfect time to enjoy all that South Australia has to offer both regionally and locally by visiting the State via the SALA program. Then spend some time visiting the virtual exhibitions and listening to the new SALA Podcast from the comfort of your own home.”

Highlights of this year’s festival include: Troy Anthony Baylis, Margaret Dodd and Tom Moore exhibiting at Art Gallery of South Australia and Pierre Mukeba at GAGPROJECTS. Praxis Artspace will host two exhibitions On Being An Artist which will see 13 artists creating work in response to 11 actions and another exhibition by Dan Withey.

West Gallery Thebarton is presenting three exhibitions Inner via Outer, Time and Space and Winter and you can see Robert Hannaford and Alison Mitchell at Riverton Light Gallery. Lost In Spaces art by John Foubister and Gerry Wedd will be at South Seas Trading in Port Elliot and Art Works: You’re Only Human After All group art show at the Town Hall.

And don’t miss the SALA Art Cars out on Adelaide’s streets during this year’s festival, generously provided by Jarvis Skoda and featuring some beautiful artwork by Elizabeth Close and Louise Vadasz.

2020 SALA featured artist and recipient of this year’s SA Living Artists Publication Kirsten Coelho will be exhibiting some of her work at the Art Gallery of South Australia, with her major solo exhibition to follow the festival at Samstag in October.  Kirsten is an exceptional artist who works in porcelain, producing reduction fired works that attempt to fuse the formal and the abstract.

This year’s SALA Forum will turn into a new SALA Podcast, featuring interviews with artists discussing their artwork, inspiration and creative lives, with new episodes released throughout the month of August. There will also be a SALA DIY Tour where people can walk the city streets visiting SALA exhibitions and recontextualising city sites or they can choose to listen to the tour when it’s convenient for them from the comfort of their home.

OPEN STUDIOS: SALA’s Open Studio Weekend runs from 8 – 9 August where you can meet local artists and visit their work spaces at Central Studios Inc. in Kent Town and Collective Haunt in Norwood. Adelaide Hills Ceramic Association’s open studio is on 29 – 30 August and Monika Morgernstern’s studio is open from 9 – 16 August. With social distancing in mind there are also a number of artists using their studios as their exhibition spaces this year, just check out the program to see when and if a booking is required.

The 2020 SALA Festival runs 1 – 31 August. For more information, and full program, visit: www.salafestival.com for details.

Image: Alex Liebelt, Helix, 2020, Made by Metal – courtesy of SALA Fesival