At the Art Gallery of South Australia visitors will experience the diversity of contemporary 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 collective vision of the TARNANTHI exhibition delivers a comprehensive geography of ideas.

A cloud of glass lit from within will introduce audiences to TARNANTHI at the Art Gallery of South Australia. In her most ambitious installation to date, Yhonnie Scarce suspends more than 2000 individually blown glass bush yams in the shape of the nuclear bomb blasts conducted at Maralinga in the north of South Australia between 1953 and 1963.

Art and AFL meld in Dinni Kunoth Kemarre and Josie Kunoth Petyarre’s Bush Footy. Since 2006, the husband and wife ‘team Kunoth’ have been celebrating the role of Australian Football in Central Australian communities. Based on individual AFL players, Kemarre’s painted wooden sculptures express an eye for detail and a passion for the game, an enthusiasm shared by Petyarre, whose paintings of football ‘bush-style’, show community gatherings of players and extended families, trucks, and dogs against a rich field of red sand.

Other exhibition highlights at the Art Gallery include new acquisitions by Aurukun artist Alair Pambegan, including his recent collaboration with Tony Albert titled Frontier Wars: Bone Fish Story Place. Albert will also exhibit his award-winning photographic series, We Can Be Heroes.

Also at the Gallery, the Desert Salon presents inventive approaches to subject matter while holding dear the beloved tradition of acrylic painting on canvas. Explosive seed Dreamings from Lajamanu, finely structured renditions of Country from Ernabella, collaborative dynamics from Tjala Arts and iconic forms from Iwantja are among this line-up of bush talent.

Celebrating contemporary Aboriginal art on a scale never before seen in South Australia, TARNANTHI also includes newly commissioned large-scale work by Reko Rennie, sculptural works by Yarrenyty Arltere Artists, Brian Robinson’s Custodian of the Blooms, Douglas Watkin’s animation The Queen & I, daguerrotypes by James Tylor, Raymond Zada’s reinterpretation of Colonel William Light’s 1838 survey, held in the History SA collection, and new moving-image work by Warwick Thornton.

In their diversity of media, these works will be complemented by paintings in ochre by Tiwi artists Cornelia and Delores Tipuamantumirri, Darwin-based Karen Mills and Aurukun painter Mavis Ngallametta, new acrylic paintings on canvas by Spinifex Arts Project and ‘portraits of Country’ by Alice Springs-based Tangentyere Artists. Also at the Art Gallery will be recent works on paper and larrakitj by Yolngu artist Nyapanyapa Yunupingu, and a tribute to Ngarra from Derby in the Western Desert through a selection of his work on canvas and paper. Finally, the Namatjira Collection presents, with innovation and beauty, skirts and corresponding watercolours painted in the tradition of Albert Namatjira by his descendants. This collection will enchant art and fashion lovers alike.