Contrary to popular belief, Adelaide does not go to sleep when Mad March packs up. Rounding out a massive winter festival period (Umbrella: Winter City Sounds, Guitars in Bars, Alpine Winter Village and Winter Reds) is SA’s longstanding celebration of visual art, SALA.
This year’s program is the biggest to date, with more than 4600 artists presenting 630 free exhibitions throughout August. That means 570 venues across the state will turn into pop-up galleries for the 31 days.
The festival kicks off today, with 60-plus exhibitions opening this weekend alone. Here are our top 10 picks of SALA 2016.
Art After Dark
SALA hits its stride when the sun goes down. Art After Dark will invigorate Adelaide's West End with walking tours, exhibition openings and a PechaKucha night – an informal gathering for people to share ideas. Guests will survey the city’s cultural precinct exploring venues Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, JamFactory, Australian Experimental Art Foundation, Nexus and more.
Smelling the Markets
Ten people at a time will be blindfolded and led on an olfactory adventure through the Central Market by visual artist and market employee Anika Gardner. Meet at the giant bronze nose that Gardner installed at the Grote Street entrance, then take in the aromas of ground coffee, fresh vegetables, baked goods and cheese as you learn about the science of smell and how this sense helps us understand the world.
Portable Dance Party
Who needs a club to bust a move? Local performance artist and party starter Luke Wilcox has built a portable dance floor and he’s bringing it to public spaces around the CBD. Boogie with him in studios, at the Adelaide Festival Centre, and aboard the Popeye cruise boat. Take in some art while you’re at it with his Dance Party Art Tour through Artspace, Format Systems Inc, Australian Experimental Art Foundation and JamFactory.
A veritable pop-art painting herself, Mandy Nash is a make-up and face-paint artist who favours explosions of colour. Head to Tenth and Gibson to watch her turn her muses into live works of art.
All the Kings Men
Teeth, bones, horns and found objects adorn the mask-like heads and skeletal, uniformed bodies of these 20 sculptures. This absorbing installation by Fiona Hall is populated by ghostly foot soldiers, representing those lost – and yet to be lost – in the name of nationhood.
Looking Backward/Moving Forward
Nostalgia and a sense of belonging are explored in mixed-media works by Jake Holmes and Haneen Martin. Both artists moved to Australia as kids, from England and Malaysia respectively. It’s their second exhibition together at The Mill, following ‘YKK to ADL’ last year.
Street Art Tours
Who’s behind your favourite CBD murals? This tour dodges the dumpsters and takes you down the streets, nooks and laneways to study the street art therein. As well as some old favourites you’ll also inspect the Street Art Explosion works, commissioned for this year’s Adelaide Fringe.
Hannaford’s best-known for his unflinching self-portraits, including the Archibald Prize-nominated ‘Tubes’, in which he painted himself with a feeding tube in his stomach. This exhibition collects many of his previously unseen portraits and figure drawings, as well as his celebrated works.
Everything is Stolen
Being of Filipino-Iranian descent herself, artist Aida Azin is interested in the way people root themselves in culture. Here, she creates a mural of text and abstract imagery on the walls of Bowden’s Fontanelle Gallery. It’s inspired by three months she spent in the Philippines.
Art in the Square
The SALA festival hub is in Victoria Square this year, with pop-up exhibitions, live music, and opportunities to meet the artists and discuss their work. Appearing throughout August will be Bus Full of Art, Ursula Kiessling, Marie Jonsson-Harrison, Catherine Fitz-Gerald, Lyndy Danby, Rod Bax, Rachel Darling, Nancy Downes, Lucy Turnbull, Maria Jimena Herrera Castelblanco, Gus Clutterbuck , Daniel Connell and Floating Goose.
SALA runs until August 31.