Discover your Inner Sanctum at the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art

Established in 1990 and running ever since, Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art is Australia’s longest-running survey of Australian contemporary art.

This year, curator Jose Da Silva, brings together works under the theme of Inner Sanctum, and it looks to be a wonderful collection.

As part of Adelaide Festival, Inner Sanctum is exhibited well past the festival’s 17 days and it’s free to view. This year the exhibition isn’t contained in the one basement gallery, Inner Sanctum items are placed all through the gallery on North Terrace.

As ever the items on display reflect where the visual arts are right now at this point of our history, so there are traditional works of art such as paintings but also new work, digital and incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their making. Don’t despair the inclusion of AI because also part of the exhibition is Yankunytjatjara woman and poet, Ali Cobby Eckermann, so we’ve yet to acquiesce to AI yet.

All together there are 24 Australian artists, participating in Inner Sanctum and I can say there are some outstandingly beautiful works of art by artist Clara Adolphs who lives and works on the lands of the Gundunggurra Nation the Southern Highlands of NSW. I am particularly drawn to her paintings because of the style she has mastered. Her work reminds me of mosaics and old faded photographs, of flood lit moments and memories.

Clara Adolphs

Another exciting artist whose work is featured in Inner Sanctum is Umoona/Coober Pedy resident, George Cooley. Cooley will be ‘in conversation’ with Ben McHenry, Senior Collections Manager of Earth Sciences, at the South Australian Museum during the launch of ‘The Studio: Opalescence’ – Friday 1st March at 12:30pm, which is one of many free events included in Inner Sanctum.

Inner Sanctum is set to launch on Thursday 29th of February at 5:30pm with a free event. Starting outside the gallery on North Terrace with the official opening, and then you can be among the first to see the new works. This is an event worth attending, there will be a traditional performance by artists from the Tiwi Islands and the Adelaide Chamber Singers will be performing.

There are many free programs, artist talks and opportunities for the whole family connected to Inner Sanctum so you should check the gallery’s website for details. There is nothing as exciting for younger kids than getting hands on and being creative, and it is such an inspiration for their developing minds.

If not for your own entertainment and inspiration you really ought to get the kids or grandkids along to see these new works by Clara Adolphs, James Barth, Christopher Bassi, Seth Birchall, Kaye Brown, Jacobus Capone, George Cooley, Ali Cobby Eckermann, Lawrence English, Ruha Fifita, Teelah George, Paul Knight, Kate Llewellyn x Adelaide Chamber Singers, Jessica Loughlin, Peter Maloney, Jazz Money, Lillian O’Neil, Nik Pantazopoulos, Khaled Sabsabi, Marikit Santiago, Vivienne Shark LeWitt, Tina Stefanou, Heather B. Swann and Jasmine Togo-Brisby.

Inner Sanctum has been assisted by the Australian Government through Creative Australia, its principal arts investment and advisory body and by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

All of the artists involved have worked tirelessly for hours and hours perfecting the material they bring, some in the desert heat and some in the cold windy highlands. They’ve all grown into their natural ability honed by demanding courses of study and/or self-reflection and personal critical assessment that has been emotionally demanding and often frustrating. Each of them were once a child who had a knack for creativity and a passion to communicate through their art, come celebrate the work they’re offering.

Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Inner Sanctum is presented in association with Adelaide Festival, and with generous support received from the Art Gallery of South Australia Biennial Ambassadors Program and Principal Donor The Balnaves Foundation.

Image 1: Heather B. Swann, born Hobart, Tasmania 1961, A place for sea dreamers, 2022, painted forged steel, 200.0 × 600.0 × 90.0 cm; collaboration with Nonda Katsalidis for the 2022 Setouchi Triennale, forged steelwork by Les Guilfoyle, the Flying Anvil, Courtesy of the artist and STATION, Sydney and Melbourne, © Heather B. Swann, photo: Keizo Kioku

Image 2: Clara Adolphs, born Sydney, New South Wales 1985, Water’s Edge, 2023, oil on linen, 185.0 × 271.0 cm; Courtesy of the artist, Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide and Chalk Horse, Sydney © Clara Adolphs

Inner Sanctum

2024 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art 

Friday 1st of March – Sunday 2nd of June

Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

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