Tarnanthi, in the Kaurna language of the Indigenous people of Adelaide and its surrounds, means to come forth or appear, like the sun at the dawning of a new day.

Now in its second iteration, the Tarnanthi Festival 2017 is a biennial showcase of national contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art taking place at the Art Gallery of South Australia and 20 satellite venues.

An exhibition at the JamFactory presents striking examples of contemporary Indigenous design, with many of the works being the product of collaborations and partnerships forged.

Confluence features work by Nicole Monks, a recipient of the Arts NSW Indigenous Design Mentorship in 2016, who worked with the Australian Design Centre and Terri Winter from Top3 by Design to create the Marlu (Kangaroo) range of furniture. JamFactory senior curator, Margaret Hancock-Davis describes the collection as “richly layered and embedded with stories,” with a focus on the transfer of knowledge within family life and culture. The importance of the kangaroo as food and in ritual is embodied in nyinajimanha (sitting together), a grouping of stools, table and kangaroo skin rug, inspired by the campfire as a meeting place.

Also featured in Confluence are the collaborative works of the Yolngu weavers of Elcho Island and design company, Koskela, who have been working together since 2009. In this innovative project the Elcho Island women have translated their traditional string weaving techniques into new forms. Lampshades and larger furniture pieces show the integration of bush materials and knowledge about land and culture with contemporary design practice. The lampshade project, first exhibited in 2009 as Yuta Badayala (A New Light), continues to show the agility of the Yolngu weavers in creating new forms for a new audience. Confluence embraces innovative cultural intersections; shining new light on ancient cultural practices and affirming shared futures.

13 October – 22 October

Preview Words by Zoe Freney