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Aboriginal art fair links artists with consumers

Arts

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from across Australia will sell their work directly to collectors at a unique Aboriginal art fair in Adelaide.

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Marika Lucas-Edwards

Art Gallery of South Australia

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More than 200 emerging and established Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists will converge in South Australia’s capital Adelaide this weekend for the TARNANTHI Aboriginal art fair.

The market will kick off the 2017-18 TARNANTHI Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, which is now in its second year.

Profits raised from the sale of the art will go directly to the artists, eliminating the usual art dealer middleman.

TARNANTHI has grown to be Australia’s largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture festival, featuring more than 1000 artists from across the country; photo: John Montesi

TARNANTHI Artistic Director Nici Cumpston said selling artwork directly has important benefits for both artists and buyers.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for people to come and actually meet the artists and see first hand what they’ve made and how they’re marketing themselves,” she said.

“It’s also important to see the diversity of work that people are making for the market as opposed to a gallery space. You’ll see both gallery-quality works as well as items that are suited more for an art fair”

“Some of the artists have even made smaller versions of the artworks they’re exhibiting in the gallery spaces.”

The Adelaide-exclusive event will run from this Friday to Sunday at Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute.

Artworks for sale include traditional dot paintings, bark paintings, woven sculpture and jewellery, with prices ranging from AU$50 to $5000.

TARNANTHI has grown to be Australia’s largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture festival, featuring more than 1000 artists from across the country.

Highlights from this year’s festival include a collection of sea creature sculptures made from ocean debris and recycled plastics, a cultural artefacts auction and a suspended spear installation.

Cumpston said the festival would feature bigger and more conceptual artworks.

“This year the artists have really pushed themselves to another level,” she said.

“The artworks are a whole different scale and the artists have really put a lot of thought into the meaning behind each piece,” she said.

“Last time we had over 100,000 people come through to see the exhibitions, so we’re expecting our attendance figures for this year to extend far beyond that.”

TARNANTHI Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art runs from October 13 to January 28, with artworks exhibited at locations across Adelaide.

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