Desert art on show at new Flinders gallery

A new gallery in Adelaide’s south is bringing the treasures of a nationally acclaimed art movement to the community, launching with an exhibition of breathtaking watercolours from the famed Hermannsburg School.

The gallery at Flinders University marks a new chapter in the history of the university’s art museum, providing for the first time a dedicated exhibition space for the visual arts at the University’s Bedford Park campus.

“It’s an exciting step in our museum’s vibrant journey that has added much to the learnings and lives of our students, staff and our wider community,” says Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling.

The art museum hosts one of the largest art collections of any university in Australia, with a focus on Indigenous Australian art, European prints, Post-object and documentation art, and Australian political prints and posters. Its oldest work dates to the mid-15th century.

Professor Stirling says the museum is a distinct South Australian resource that plays an important role in education and research while benefiting the broader community through its public facing exhibitions and programs.

In celebrating the launch of the gallery, the University is thrilled to present Tjina Nurna-ka, Pmarra Nurna-kanha, Itla Itla Nurna-kanha: Our Family, Our Country, Our Legacy, an exhibition of works by Western Aranda watercolourists that pays tribute to the enduring legacy of famed artist Albert Namatjira.

Widely regarded as the pioneer of contemporary Indigenous Australian art, Namatjira inspired the now acclaimed Hermannsburg School of artists whose work is characterised by evocative watercolours of Western Aranda Country around Mparntwe (Alice Springs) and surrounding areas of Central Australia.

The exhibition features recent and decades-old paintings drawn from practising artists of Iltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre in Alice Springs and the collections of Flinders University, the Art Gallery of South Australia and South Australian Museum.

Developed over a period of 12 months in consultation with the Western Aranda community of artists, it is presented in partnership with the Art Gallery of SA and Iltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre, for Tarnanthi: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art.

“This superb exhibition is testament to the vision of our art museum in creating a place of collaboration and dialogue, opening us to new ideas and different ways of seeing the world,” Professor Stirling says.

The launch of the new gallery is accompanied by fresh branding, including a name change from Flinders University Art Museum to Flinders University Museum of Art (FUMA).

“Our new visual identity is deliberately bold, nodding to the mid-century roots of our University,” says FUMA Director Fiona Salmon.

“It is designed to energise the museum’s unique character while speaking to its diverse audiences and encouraging new ones,” she says.

Curated by Marisa Maher, Nic Brown and Madeline Reece, Tjina Nurna-ka, Pmarra Nurna-kanha, Itla Itla Nurna-kanha: Our Family, Our Country, Our Legacy is displayed across two sites: Flinders University Museum of Art and the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Exhibition date and locations

Flinders University Museum of Art
Ground floor | Social Sciences North Building
Flinders University | Sturt Road
Bedford Park SA 5042

View location map.

25 Oct 2019 – 27 Jan 2020
Mon – Wed & Fri | 10am – 5pm
Thur | 10am – 8pm
Closed 21 Dec – 13 Jan


Art Gallery of South Australia
Gallery 8

North Terrace
Adelaide SA 5000

18 Oct 2019 – 27 Jan 2020
10am – 5pm daily
Closed 25 Dec

Public Programs

Thursday 24 October | 5:30pm

Co-curators Marisa Maher and Nic Brown in conversation

Tuesday 29 October | 12 noon

Floortalk with co-curator Madeline Reece

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Corporate Engage