Tarnanthi at AGSA showcases the latest works of contemporary art from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists across the continent.
A major feature is the first survey exhibition of acclaimed portraitist Vincent Namatjira, whose works offer a wry Aboriginal perspective on the politics of history, power and leadership. Namatjira’s dynamic community of Indulkana is also the source of Tiger Yaltangki’s painted incursions into classic AC/DC rock posters and Iwantja Arts’ fortieth anniversary retrospective.
Other desert homelands have inspired Bugai Whyoulter’s sublime depictions of seasonal changes around Wantili, Spinifex artists’ phosphorescent renderings of the power of Wanampi, the Water Serpent, and Warlayirti artists’ epic project to reconnect with Wilkinkarra salt lake. Meanwhile, Utopia’s former stockmen muster the memory of cattle drives across Country, and the pastoral past informs Kunmanara (Ngilan) Dodd’s shelter-like sculpture made from fencing wire and wool.
Country delivers emotional intensity in Denise Brady’s paintings and suggests resilience and renewal in Elizabeth Close’s sculptural pieces created from reclaimed car bodies. From the Pilbara, Nyangulya Katie Nalgood pays tribute to the birds that evoke Country, and Juluwarlu Art Group’s moving-image work and carved objects emphasise the power of performance to connect to Country and culture.
From Arnhem Land, Wally Wilfred’s vivid contemporary paintings reflect on traditional cycles of life and death, Djakaŋu Yunupiŋu depicts ancestral links to seasonal weather patterns, Injalak weavers celebrate nature’s colours in their dyed woven baskets, and Ray Mudjandi unmasks his latest Aboriginal superhero.
From Central Australia, Tangentyere and Yarrenyty Arltere artists represent their place through soft sculptures and ceramics. Paintings and soft sculptures also animate Sally M. Mulda’s and Marlene Rubuntja’s video story of their overlapping lives, while Judith Inkamala and Janet Fieldhouse tell their personal stories in ceramics.
Tarnanthi is presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia with Principal Partner BHP and support from the Government of South Australia