South Australia has a strong community of visual artists. Once a year, they gather together under the banner of SALA Festival to transform the city into a sprawling mega-gallery. Cafes, stores and drab street corners become the backdrops for work by homegrown creatives. This year 6282 artists are involved in SALA – the largest number of participating artists ever. Here are a few tips for making the most of the festival.
Presented by dietician Hannah Rohrlach and arts professional Stephanie Daughtry (Post Dining Experience), and hosted at the Propaganda Club, this event will be memorable and gleefully unpredictable. Post Dining Experience explores how humans interact with and understand food, and its ties to memory, emotion and circumstance. By introducing elements of performance, staging, music and more, Daughtry creates immersive, site-specific dining experiences that celebrate food as much as art. Propaganda Club is also the location of SALA work Orthogonal Ruptures, a site specific installation by Tom Borgas.
Follow Luke Thurgate on a tour of the city’s pubs and get “drawing under the influence”. A working artist and educator at Adelaide Central School of Art, Thurgate’s practice considers drawing as a vehicle for interaction and collaboration. This adults-only excursion is a practical extension of his interests, spiked with booze.
Explore one of the state’s most promising postcodes, taking in 10-plus galleries and exhibitions around the docklands. Meet artists, explore new spaces and enjoy live music, food trucks and entertainment from a host of local businesses.
PechaKucha (from the Japanese word meaning “chit-chat”) nights consists of rapid-fire presentations by various artists. Each will show and speak about 20 images for 20 seconds. A fleeting six minutes and 40 seconds in length, the slideshows focus on any work, topic or idea the artist chooses in fun, informal micro-lectures. This year, Nexus Arts has programmed a cross-section of the local arts scene including sculptor Anna Horne, ,ceramicist Gerry Wedd and Sister Gallery co-director Mia van den Bos.
Fashion, food and film have been pillars of the East End’s recent redevelopment. Already a centre for cultural activity, the thriving community of small businesses is throwing its support behind local artists with its own festival-within-a-festival. It kicks off on Vaughan Place on Friday August 4 with a laneway party featuring a pop-up bar by local gin slingers The Howling Owl, live art and music. Selected venues are also running in-house exhibitions for the duration of SALA, including Urban Cow Studio, Leonard Street, Palace Nova Cinema and more.
Jeff Schiller looks at the developing relationship between his love for coffee, and the coffee shops of South Australia’s Mid North. His exhibition, 4 Long Blacks, at Skilly Hills Function Centre in Auburn blends the two in an unusual way. Schiller has photographed a number of cafes around the state, aiming to capture the unique flavour of each establishment. He’s then produced the images using a coffee-based developer consisting of coffee purchased from the venue featured in the photograph. The result is a series of sepia-esque images pointing to a nexus of caffeine and creativity.
Enter the zine zone. A hoard of DIY book and (maga)zine makers are converging on Fowler’s Live for Zine Swap #6. It will present work from more than 60 “seasoned and freshly squeezed” talents, ranging in content and style from comic artists and photographers, to printmakers and political publishers.
Tilly has a nose for art. Follow her lead as she sniffs out some of the best galleries and artist-run initiatives around the Adelaide CBD. This tour is designed for two- and four-legged art lovers and encompasses a broad selection of contemporary work including video, painting, sculpture and drawing. (Tilly’s owner, artist Jenna Pippett, will also be present.)
Adelaide is a city that loves to cycle. From Lycra-clad speedsters to weekend dawdlers, cycling for many means more than just commuting. Through illustration, ceramics and mixed-media installations, Mandi King, Eija Murch-Lempinen and Jillian Packer explore the physical and transcendent experience of the rider in this exhibition at Bike SA.
A shipping container has landed on the lawns of the South Australian Museum. It will serve as a hub throughout the festival; a venue for pop-up exhibitions, live demonstrations, activities and events with participation as their focus. This is art at its most public. Visitors are encouraged to get amongst it and explore their own creativity.
Get a glimpse into SALA festivals of the future at the acclaimed Hill Smith Gallery. This showcase features work by final-year students from TAFE SA’s Adelaide College of the Arts and it spans drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, jewellery and photography. The show captures the strength and diversity of the next generation.
SALA runs throughout August. For the full program visit salafestival.com.au.