Shedding new light on contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

The name (pronounced tar-nan-dee) comes from the language of the Kaurna people, the traditional owners of the Adelaide Plains. It means to come forth or appear – like the sun and the first emergence of light.

Tarnanthi is a platform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from across the country to share important stories. It encourages new beginnings by providing artists with opportunities to create significant new work and to extend their practice.

It illuminates the diversity and depth of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art by presenting an annual exhibition, art fair, artist talks, performances and events. Tarnanthi is led by Artistic Director Nici Cumpston, AGSA’s Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art.

With the heart of the Festival at the Art Gallery of South Australia, partner exhibitions are featured at diverse venues - from regional galleries to city hospitals, town halls to university campuses and museums to artist studio spaces.

Tarnanthi is presented in partnership with BHP and with the support of the Government of South Australia.

Principal Partner
  • BHP
Opening Weekend
17 - 20 Oct 2019

20171012 TARNANTHI Opening Adobe RGB Photo Nat Rogers-6325.tif, photo: Nat Rogers.

Tarnanthi Art Fair
18–20 Oct 2019

Naomi Kantjuri from Amata, South Australia and Maringka Burton from Indulkana, South Australia collecting minarri grass, 2017; © Tjanpi Desert Weavers, NPY Women’s Council, photo: Rhett Hammerton..

Tarnanthi at AGSA
18 Oct 2019 – 27 Jan 2020

detail: Nyaparu (William) Gardiner, Nyangumarta/Warnman/Manjilyjarra people, Western Australia, born 1943, Brockman River, Western Australia, died 2018, South Hedland, Western Australia, My Jamu (Grandfather) Mine, 2018, Spinifex Hill Studios, South Hedland, Western Australia, synthetic polymer paint on linen, 101.5 x 61.0 cm; Spinifex Hill Studio, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Estate Nyaparu (William) Gardiner/Spinifex Hill Studio.

Across the city & state
18 Oct 2019 – 27 Jan 2020

detail: Judy Miller collecting tjanpi at Aralya, South Australia; Image courtesy the artist and Nikuku Arts, photo: Meg Hansen.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are respectfully advised that the following videos may contain the images of people who have passed away.

Tarnanthi is led by Artistic Director Nici Cumpston, the Art Gallery of South Australia’s Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art. Of Afghan, English, Irish and Barkindji heritage, Nici is a descendant of the Darling River people of northern NSW and is culturally affiliated with the River Murray people in South Australia. Her career has been characterised by working closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to bring new work and new ways of seeing to wider audiences.