Tarnanthi at the Art Gallery of South Australia highlights the immediacy and diversity of twenty-first century Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. From far northern tropical Australia to the heart of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara [APY] Lands and inner-city studios, the exhibition offers a national snapshot of the concerns, traditions, innovation and ideas within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artistic practice today.


Art and AFL meld in Dinni Kunoth Kemarre and Josie Kunoth Petyarre’s Bush Footy. The husband-and-wife duo, ‘team Kunoth’, celebrates the role of Australian Football in Central Australian communities through their paintings and wooden sculptures. Additional carved and painted dog and vehicle sculptures by Motorbike Kgnale, Alan Kunoth, Patrick Kunoth and Simon Kunoth.

Gallery 6

Densely saturated works on paper by Gladdy Kemarre and Josie Kunoth Petyarre sit alongside a tribute to Ngarra from Derby in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and a collaborative painting by the Ken Sisters; Freda Brady, Sandra Ken, Tjungkara Ken, Maringka Tunkin and Yaritji Tingila Young as well as major painting by Ray Ken all from Tjala Arts in Amata in the South Australian APY Lands. Darwin-based painter Karen Mills mixes natural ochre, dry pigments and acrylic binders to produce sensitive gestural works.

James Tylor’s daguerreotype series Whalers, Sealers and Landstealers, re-presents the violent nineteenth-century conflict between Gunditjmara people and colonists in Western Victoria.

Gallery 7

Crossing Time draws on the Art Gallery of South Australia’s progressive history of collecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. With works from the mid-twentieth century onwards, the exhibition features many of the Gallery’s earliest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander acquisitions.

Gallery 8

Central Australian film director Warwick Thornton presents a new moving-image work The way of the Ngangkari, recalling his youthful epiphany of recognising Aboriginal Ngangkari (bush doctors) as landed equivalents to Star Wars Jedi.

Gallery 9, 10, 11

The focus exhibition Riverland: Yvonne Koolmatrie presents a survey spanning thirty years of Koolmatrie’s Ngarrindjeri weaving practice.

Gallery 19A

Making and Meaning presents highlights from the Art Gallery of South Australia’s collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander craft and design.

Gallery 22

Nyapanyapa Yununpingu continues to expand her material repertoire with decorated larrakitj, and a monumental installation combining earth pigment and felt-tip pen across discarded print proofs. In conversation with this moving body of works are two dynamic gestural paintings by Karen Mills.

Ochre paintings by Mavis Ngallametta from Aurukun sit alongside ochres of the Tiwi palette in the works of Cornelia Tipuamantumirri and daughter Delores Tipuamantumirri. New acquisitions by Aurukun artist Alair Pambegan are on display including a recent collaboration with Tony Albert, Frontier Wars: Bone Fish Story Place. Alongside this body of work is an installation by Alair Pambegan titled, Mother a stand of rakes resting along the wall referencing his mother’s experience of being made to rake the hard ground with her bare hands. Also within this Gallery are figurative paintings by Tjilpi Kunmanara Kankapankatja from Kaltjiti Arts in the SA APY Lands.

Gallery 23A

Brian Robinson’s large-scaled vibrant fresco installation, Custodians of the Blooms takes its cue from Torres Strait Islander seasonal harvest cycles in relation to the position of celestial points. Nearby are paintings by Pepai Carroll from Ernabella Arts, Peter Mungkuri of Iwantja Arts and Sandy Brumby from Ninuku Arts. Douglas Watkin’s animation – the first instalment in a trilogy titled The Queen & I – delves into a familial oral archive: Queen Elizabeth II’s 1954 visit to his home town of Cairns, for which Watkin’s father was one of the cavalcade drivers.

Gallery 23B

The Desert Salon presents the latest notations of Tjukurpa (ancestral law) with explosive seed creation stories from Lajamanu, ancestral stories from Papunya Tula Artists and Tjukurla from the western desert, finely structured renditions of Country by artists from the South Australian APY Lands, alongside artists from Martumili Artists from the Pilbara.

Gallery 23C

The Namatjira Collection presents artists from Iltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre, direct descendants of Albert Namatjira and his contemporaries. Alongside tondo (round) large scale watercolours painted in the tradition of Namatjira, they present skirts using fabrics printed with their tondo landscape paintings and designed in the style of the 1950s.

Gallery 24

The Spinifex Arts Project presents new large-scale collaborative men’s and women’s canvases that act as monumental group portraits.

Gallery 25

Material traditions and innovations jostle each other in the lower galleries of the Art Gallery of South Australia. As you descend the stairs you are met with Yhonnie Scarce’s Thunder raining poison, a hanging installation including more than two thousand individually blown glass bush yams. Representing a dissipating atomic bomb cloud and referencing the atomic bomb testing done on her family’s country in northern South Australia between 1953 - 1962. Tony Albert’s award-winning photographic series, We Can Be Heroes, confronts viewers, while Vincent Namatjira’s self-portrait alongside portraits of favourite singers brings joy.

Alice Springs-based artists from Yarrenyty Arltere use their signature bush dyed blankets to create a hand-stitched map revealing their personal daily pathways around west side Alice Springs alongside the Tangentyere Artists’ individual self-portraits painted on board. Tiger Yaltangki from Iwantja Arts’ paintings of his Malpa wiru (Good friends) sit alongside large-scale paintings by Reko Rennie declaring ongoing custodianship of Australia and hang alongside a photographic series by Raymond Zada reinterpreting Colonial William Light’s 1838 survey map of Adelaide, held in the South Australian History Trust collection.


Tony Albert, Ngamaru Bidu, Margaret Boko, Freda Brady, Byron Brooks, Veronica Brown, Sandy Brumby, Pepai Jangala Carroll, Kunmanara [Linda] Coleman, Betty Conway, Louise Daniels, Lorraine Davies, Jimmy Donegan, Kanta Donnegan, Nyarapayi Giles, Fred Grant, Ned Grant, Debbie Hansen, Lily Nungarrayi Hargraves, Kunmanara [Anne] Hogan, Estelle Inyika Hogan, Simon Hogan, Trudy Inkamala, Kunmanara Tjilpi Kankapankatja, Dinni Kunoth Kemarre, Gladdy Kemarre, Betty Kennedy, Ray Ken, Sandra Ken, Tjungkara Ken, Yvonne Koolmatrie, Alan Kunoth, Patrick Kunoth, Simon Kunoth, Karen Mills, Barbara Mbitjana Moore, Sally M. Mulda, Peter Mungkuri, Kevin Namatjira, Lenie Namatjira, Elizabeth Nampitjinpa, Makinti Napanangka, Mavis Ngallametta, Ngarra, Nora Nungabar, Alair Pambegan, Gloria Pannka, Hubert Pareroultja, Lawrence Pennington, Lois Pennington, Myrtle Pennington, Josie Kunoth Petyarre, Mrs Pompey, Patju Presley, Ngupulya Pumani, Dulcie Raggett, Reko Rennie, Ian Rictor, Winmati Roberts, Louise Robertson, Brian Robinson, Marlene Rubuntja, Mervyn Rubuntja, Yhonnie Scarce, Dulcie Sharpe, Rhonda Sharpe, Ngalpingka Simms, Valerie Stafford, Peter Tjutjatja Taylor, Doris Thomas, Kunmanara Thomas, Warwick Thornton, Nerine Tilmouth, Cornelia Tipuamantumirri, Delores Tipuamantumirri, Ray James Tjangala, Charlie Tjapangati, George Tjungurrayi, Maringka Tunkin, James Tylor, Roy Underwood, Douglas Watkin, Lennard Walker, Carlene West, Joanne Wheeler, Marlene Wheeler, Tjaruwa Woods, Nora Wompi, Tiger Yaltangki, Bugai Whyoulter, Yaritji Tingila Young, Nyapanyapa Yunupingu and Raymond Zada.

Riverland: Yvonne Koolmatrie
Yvonne Koolmatrie

Desert Salon
Ngamaru Bidu, Jimmy Donegan, Nyarapayi Giles, Lily Nungarrayi Hargraves, Barbara Mbitjana Moore, Makinti Napanangka, Nora Nungabar, Mrs Pompey, Ngupulya Pumani, Ray James Tjangala, Charlie Tjapangati, George Tjungurrayi, Nora Wompi and Bugai Whyoulter.

Carved and painted bird sculptures by artists Dinni Kunoth Kemarre, Alan Kunoth, Patrick Kunoth, Simon Kunoth and Josie Kunoth Petyarre.

Bush Footy
Motorbike Kgnale, Dinni Kunoth Kemarre, Josie Kunoth Petyarre

Namatjira Collection
Ngurratjuta Iltja Ntjarra/Many Hands Art Centre: Kevin Namatjira, Lenie Namatjira, Gloria Pannka, Hubert Pareroultja, Mervyn Rubuntja, Peter Tjutjatja Taylor

Spinifex Arts Project
Byron Brooks, Veronica Brown, Kunmanara [Linda] Coleman, Lorraine Davies, Kanta Donnegan, Fred Grant, Ned Grant, Debbie Hansen, Kunmanara [Anne] Hogan, Estelle Inyika Hogan, Simon Hogan, Betty Kennedy, Lawrence Pennington, Lois Pennington, Myrtle Pennington, Patju Presley, Ian Rictor, Winmati Roberts, Ngalpingka Simms, Kunmanara Thomas, Roy Underwood, Lennard Walker, Carlene West, Tjaruwa Woods

Making Place
Tangentyere Artists: Margaret Boko, Betty Conway, Louise Daniels, Sally M. Mulda, Elizabeth Nampitjinpa, Doris Thomas, Nerine Tilmouth, Joanne Wheeler, Marlene Wheeler.

Yarrenyty Arltere Artists
Trudy Inkamala, Dulcie Raggett, Louise Robertson, Marlene Rubuntja, Dulcie Sharpe, Rhonda Sharpe, Valerie Stafford

Tarnanthi: Festival of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art is presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia with support from Arts SA, Government of South Australia and Principal Partner BHP Billiton.

Principal partner
  • BHP