Tarnanthi 2019 launches and announces international exhibition for Tarnanthi 2020

Kulata Tjuta, Installation View Art Gallery of South Australia, 2017 - photo by Saul SteedTarnanthi 2019 has opened to thousands of people at the Art Gallery of South Australia, as AGSA announces that in 2020, for the first time, Tarnanthi will feature an exhibition in France.

Seen by hundreds of thousands of people in Australia since its inception, Tarnanthi: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art and exhibitions will now be shown to international audiences. In a diplomatic and artistic coup, AGSA, in collaboration with APY Collective and the Regional Council of Brittany,will present Kulata Tjuta at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes, in Brittany, France in October 2020.

The centrepiece of the Brittany exhibition will be the signature work of the 2017 Tarnanthi festival – a spectacular installation titled Kulata Tjuta (meaning Many Spears) – which comprises more than 500 spears, suspended in mid-air.

Kulata Tjuta is a project that began with five men in Amata, South Australia making spears on country and has spread to communities across the APY Lands involving many Anangu men and women across the APY Lands. With support of the Government of South Australia, the acclaimed project from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands titled Kulata Tjuta will travel to Rennes, along with other works of art from the APY Lands.

“As Tarnanthi shows so vividly, art can communicate across cultures and across continents. And through art, Tarnanthi articulates a message about the depth of culture in this land – a message that shapes lives locally, attitudes nationally and, increasingly, awareness internationally,” said Rhana Devenport ONZM, Director AGSA. “We are thrilled that legacy that Tarnanthi has created in Australia will be shared beyond our shores in 2020.”

Following a visit in early 2019 from the President of the Regional Council of Brittany (CRB) and his 28 delegates, the exhibition will be showcased in Rennes, capital of Brittany, as an outstanding celebration of our sister state relationship.

As well as being a cultural exchange, the exhibition will also be a meeting of languages – with works of art from a land where Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara and English are spoken, presented in a region that speaks French and its own distinct Breton language.

“As a museum that displays abstract works of art, this exhibition is important to us as Aboriginal art has quite a different approach and purpose,” says François Coulon, Public Service Manager and Curator of Archaeological and Extra-European Collections at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes. “It is very important for us to ‘listen’, to understand and to share with our audiences another way of being in the world, understandable throughout the sensitive art of Australia’s APY Lands.”

Opening in Rennes on Friday 23 October 2020, the exhibition will occupy an entire floor of the major art museum in Brittany, in north-west France until 31 January 2021. There will also be works of art from APY Gallery available for purchase, bringing home economic benefits of international touring to APY communities.

“The touring exhibition will be an opportunity to not only share with the world the dynamism and creativity of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture, but in particular it will tell the world of Anangu stories through Anangu art – home-grown art and stories from South Australia, from a South Australian festival of art,” said Sally Scales, Chair of the APY Council and spokesperson for the APY Art Centre Collective.

Tarnanthi: Festival of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art is presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia in partnership with BHP and with support from the Government of South Australia – continues to 27 January 2020. For more information, visit: www.agsa.sa.gov.au for details.

Image: Kulata Tjuta, Installation View Art Gallery of South Australia, 2017 – photo by Saul Steed