Tarnanthi at AGSA features artists from around the country, forming a nationwide survey of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. Exhibition highlights include the ‘surreal’ worldview of John Prince Siddon, Timo Hogan’s desert homeland triptych, Gwenneth Blitner’s tropical landscapes of Gulf Country, Tiwi ochre paintings and Angelina Karadada Boona’s contemporising of Wandjina rock art.
Also on display are works by Ntaria (Hermannsburg) artists who have found inspiration in a desert spring. Water also flows through Teho Ropeyarn’s giant prints and Djerrkŋu Yunupiŋu shares the story of her conception as a mermaid. Sisters Kathy and Tracey Ramsay call up their homeland, Karen Mills’ paintings layer pigments and meaning, while vivid desert canvases spring from the Western Desert and the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, by artists including Katjarra Butler, Doris Bush Nungarrayi, Nyunmiti Burton, Yaritji Young, Taylor Wanyima Cooper, Witjiti George, Alec Baker, Kaylene Whiskey and artists from Tjungu Palya and Ninuku Arts.
Elsewhere in the Gallery, Gail Mabo’s sculptures chart the Torres Strait, Minyma Kutjarra artists revive discarded car parts as painted sculptures, while Waringarri artists transform boab nuts to take flight. Also inspired by birds, Christina Gollan conjures in clay while corellas animate the blue Barkindji sky of Kent Morris’s latest work.
A collection-inspired display titled Keepers of culture closing on 23 January 2022 brings together baskets, bark paintings and spirit figures alongside recent woven works made for Tarnanthi by Ngarrindjeri, Ngadjuri, Narungga and Wirangu artist Sonya Rankine. Julie Gough initiates an unsettling dialogue with colonial paintings and furniture from AGSA’s collection, and Maree Clarke presents large-scale necklaces made from reeds and feathers, echidna quills and found and cast-glass kangaroo teeth.
Tarnanthi is presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia with Principal Partner BHP and support from the Government of South Australia