Building on the popular and critical success of the inaugural TARNANTHI Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art in 2015, the State Government of South Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia and BHP Billiton have announced a partnership worth $17.54 million.
BHP Billiton’s investment in TARNANTHI will see this celebrated visual arts Festival continue for an additional five years, until 2021, and marks Australia’s largest financial contribution by a corporate organisation to the cultural sector. Presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia, TARNANTHI will be an annual, city wide festival, with a major biennial offering at the Art Gallery from October 2017.
“Our first TARNANTHI festival was a massive success and this massive investment by BHP means it can now become a regular fixture in our annual artistic calendar,” said South Australian Premier, Jay Weatherill. “It is clear that projects of this nature can have a significant effect on advancing our shared objectives, resulting in a lively legacy with economic, civic and cultural outcomes for Aboriginal people and South Australia as a whole.”
“We want to build on the legacy of TARANTHI and make South Australia the international hub for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture.
A platform for important stories to be seen and heard, TARNANTHI will continue to offer access to the best of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art from across the state and around the country. The inaugural festival was presented in 2015 by the Art Gallery of South Australia in partnership with BHP Billiton and the Government of South Australia. It was the largest Aboriginal art event ever staged in South Australia.
In 2015 TARNANTHI showcased over 1,068 artists across the Gallery and 22 partner exhibitions and an Art Fair that featured twenty art centres across the country and independent artists from South Australia. The Art Fair attracted 5,500 visitors and generated over $450,000 in direct sales to artists and art centres, over the two-day event.
The breadth and diversity of the inaugural festival was well received by audiences with total attendances at all TARNANTHI exhibitions and events exceeding 311,000.
“TARNANTHI has shed light on Aboriginal art and culture in a way that we have never seen before,” said Nick Mitzevich, Director Art Gallery of South Australia. “This five year commitment by BHP Billiton and the State Government will enable the legacy of TARNANTHI to continue and provide long term opportunities for artists and communities across Australia.”
TARNANTHI Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art will return in 2017. For more information, visit: www.tarnanthi.com.au for details.
Image: Kulata Tjuta at TARNANTHI 2015 – photo Ben Searcy