South Australian Living Artists festival spotlights regional talent
Regional artists are encouraging residents to connect with their cities’ creative culture as the 25th South Australian Festival of Living Artists kicks off.
- Country artists say local artwork helps create regional identity
- SALA Festival Expands Statewide, Giving Area Residents Access to More Exhibits
- Regional artists use the festival as an opportunity to collaborate and discover emerging talent
The festival – also known as SALA – spotlights living artists who are active in their respective communities, inspiring area residents to explore the creative talent of their own backyards.
And with an assortment of exhibits across regions, country artists prove you don’t have to go to a capital city to see an array of high-quality art.
Robe-based textile artist Kristi Biezaite, who moved to Robe from Latvia about 12 years ago, showcases her work at a local winery as part of an exhibition celebrating the beauty of nature.
She works with natural fibers like fleece and transforms them into shawls and tapestries before adorning them with natural eucalyptus dyes.
“SALA essentially creates a situation where you can go locally – you don’t have to go to capital cities to go to an art gallery or a museum,” Biezaite said.
“You can see the art locally, which makes it accessible to everyone.”
Spotlight on local artists
Artists from the Bedford Day Options center in Port Lincoln are exhibiting their pieces at the festival for the third year, quickly becoming a staple of SALA’s programming.
Artist Cary Marcal said his exhibit was representative of the Indigenous flag, celebrating his sister’s culture.
“The important thing for me is that my sister is indigenous, and I did that for my sister,” he said.
Meanwhile, artist Aaron Dennis used his hands to paint his piece and said he enjoyed working with his friends while exploring a new method of painting.
The Riverland Artist’s Hub showcases local works year-round in its Renmark storefront, but textile artist Glenys Leske said SALA opens up new opportunities to discover emerging artists.
“Sometimes we can be very insular in our artistic practices, so it’s nice to get out and mingle with others and see different ways of working,” she said.
In just the opening week of the festival, Leske has already discovered new artists whose works she would like to exhibit at the hub, expanding the number of locals getting noticed in the Riverland area.
“There are some really amazing pieces of art that make me think, ‘I’d like to approach them and have a chat and see what we can do,’ because we’re trying to encourage diversity here,” she said. .
Adelaide-based multidisciplinary artist Sam Wannan previously lived in Whyalla and said art helps to understand a region’s identity.
Mr Wannan was exhibiting his work at Part of Things in Barmera and Karoonda silos throughout the festival and said it had been great to collaborate with other regional artists.
“The more regional artists can connect with each other, share their work and celebrate what it means to be an artist, the better,” he said.
“Having lived in the arts world in Whyalla, I know the importance of works of art and how they reinforce the sense of cultural and local identity there.”