Wed. Oct 27th, 2021

Pioneering contemporary artwork from native Australians across the country is unveiled in Adelaide as part of this year’s Tarnanthi Festival.

Approximately 1,400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists have participated in a series of events where 189 people showcased their work at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

For the first time, this year’s popular Tarnanthi Art Fair will only work online.

Artistic director Nici Cumpston said people from across the country and the world would be able to log on to purchase a large selection of works.

“We were worried that there was a lockdown and that we could not support the artists to be able to come and sell their works,” she said.

A woman with brown hair in a bright red Coca Cola t-shirt stands next to a painted sculpture of a car
Pitjantjatjara woman Sally Foster’s is one of 1,400 artists participating in this year’s Tarnanthi festival.(ABC News: Brant Cumming)

The artist Gail Mabo from the Piadram clan is the daughter of the native title campaign Eddie Mabo, who changed the course of Australian history.

Her work is made with bamboo that was planted by her father decades ago at James Cook University in Townsville.

She said her father would be proud of her work today.

“I’m pretty honored to be his daughter and have the ability to share his stories with a lot of people.”

Sculptures of cars with native dot paintings on them sit under dim lighting in an art gallery exhibition
Tarnanthi 2021 features artists from across the continent using a variety of media.(ABC News: Brant Cumming)

She said her father, who painted watercolor, inspired her to become an artist.

“With the art of doing, it recognizes the indigenous people and the places they come from,” she said.

“With every area within this exhibition, you recognize people, place and culture, because not one community is the same as the other.

“We all come from different communities, we all speak different languages, but we have a connection that is connection to land.”

‘There is a long way to go to Australia’

Meanwhile, trawlwoolway woman Julie Gough will turn the table on Victorian-era furniture and paintings.

A woman with short gray hair and black glasses smiles as she stands in front of furniture in Victorian times
Julie Gough’s installation tells the story of her tragic family history.(ABC News: Brant Cumming)

Her installation tells the tragic story of her family history and questions the impact of colonization.

“There is such a long way to go in Australia that Aborigines are not even invited to the table, it still has to come quite often, but actually to be the table that others will come to to move forward, how to describe, discuss, educate. “

The online Tarnanthi Art Fair goes live today and lasts until Monday.


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