Shedding new light on contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art

Tarnanthi, 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 – signifying new beginnings. Now in its third year, Tarnanthi Festival provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists with the opportunity to create significant new work.

In 2018 Tarnanthi features a focus exhibition produced and presented in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia, and Maningrida Arts and Culture, John Mawurndjul: I am the old and the new – the first major Australian survey exhibition of leading contemporary artist John Mawurndjul. Having been celebrated internationally for his ground-breaking approach to bark painting and dazzling radiance of his rarrk – a cross-hatching technique – John Mawurndjul: I am the old and the new spans four decades of paintings and sculptures by one of Australia’s greatest living artists.

The 2018 program highlights also include the Tarnanthi Art Fair, an annual event for buying works of art direct from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and art centres, and panpa-panpalya, a public symposium modelled on the Kaurna philosophy of gathering to exchange and share knowledge.

John Mawurndjul: I am the old and the new has been developed and co presented by the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) and the Art Gallery of South Australia, in association with Maningrida Arts & Culture. It is presented as part of Tarnanthi in partnership with BHP and with the support of the Government of South Australia.

Opening Weekend
25-28 Oct 2018
Tarnanthi Art Fair
26–28 Oct 2018
Tarnanthi at AGSA
26 Oct 2018 - 28 Jan 2019

photo: Nat Rogers

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.