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July 23, 2019

Five of our favourite artists give you their must-sees for SALA

All killer. No filler.

  • Words: Alyssa Cairo
  • Feature image: Andy Nowell

The South Australian Living Artists Festival (SALA) is an annual festival held to promote and celebrate the many talented and not-so-talented South Australian visual artists that live and work among us. Since 1998, tens of thousands of artists must have exhibited in various metropolitan and rural locations across SA, and judging by the weight of this year’s program 2019 is adding a whole lot more.

Use CityMag’s guide to SALA to sort some of the wheat from the chaff and make sure you’re only absorbing the most mesmerising art experiences.

Rather that put a blindfold on and poke at the program, we spoke to five of our favourite artists – people who know – and asked them to recommend their favourite shows for SALA 2019.


Amy Joy Watson

Amy Joy Watson – photo by Andy Nowell

Creating brightly coloured, geometric balsa wood sculptures, Amy Joy Watson examines human propensity for imagining different and better worlds from a highly personal perspective. Watson won’t be seen out and about too often because hundreds of hours of work go into making her creations. Of course, she’s making an exception for SALA – here’s what she’s hanging out for this year.

What are you hanging out to see this SALA and why?

  1. like cures like by Louise Haselton – I love Louise’s work.
  2. aannaa by Anna Gore and Anna Horne – Two excellent women and very excellent artists. And what a title. This little shop/gallery is so nice and a trip to Port Elliot is bound to make you feel good.
  3. Inside Mumbling Rain by Maxwell Callaghan – He’s a really exciting painter and I love everything he does. I’m keen to see how he treats the ground as a painting surface. What another great title.
  4. Art and Homelessness Forum at Fly Bird Fly Studios – This Art and Homelessness Forum is an accompanying event to Fly Bird Fly’s SALA exhibition and I think it will be really interesting. As well as practicing as an artist I also work in community centres and have seen the value of art to people experiencing all sorts of things in life. I’m looking forward to learning more in this space.
  5. And I guess I should plug Andy, Banjo and my ‘Shed Show/ open studio’. There will be pizza! (Editor’s note: Andy Nowell is a co-founder of Sunny’s Pizza and has built a wood oven in his backyard).

Follow Amy here.


Kaspar Schmidt Mumm

Kaspar Schmidt Mumm – photo by Emmaline Zanelli

Kaspar Schmidt Mumm has a reputation as an exciting, young visual artist with a focus on collaboration and community. With Pakistani and Columbian heritage, Mumm’s artistic identity grew from his inability to conform to his varying homes.

What are you hanging out to see this SALA and why?

When CityMag asked me to plug some exhibitions in SALA I thought about a few things: Do I talk about myself? Do I mention my contemporaries? Or do I find things that represent our state and get people to think outside of the norm? Adelaide has a vast artistic community.

From artist-run initiatives, institutions, outsiders to schools and community centres there are a lot of options. South Australia loves its traditional crafts: painting, glass, metal sculpture, etc. My background is in painting, but I’ve moved into artistic performance, so I’ve decided to give you a variety to take a look at.

  1. PechaKucha Night is a great entry into the arts community in its hub. Twenty images, twenty seconds each. Informative, performative and engaging. Do it.
  2. Extra Virgin has some of Adelaide’s young contemporaries working across mediums. Watch out for Tara, Steven and Maxwell, they’ll hit the big time soon enough.
  3. Amy, Andy and Banjo’s Open Studio is the best hang out in SALA for sure. Amy’s delicate, intricate and mobile works are incredible; Andy is a founding Sunny’s pizza chef / contemporary photographer and Banjo is at the head of Adelaide poetic movement in combination with his incredible folk music career.
  4. The Scene is the Seen will be a look into some of Australia’s newest experimental performance and curatorial writing. You need to have your contemporary art hat on for this one.
  5. Dinosaurs Explored could be terrible or could be inspiring. I have no idea. Sometimes I just rock up to see what people make. I love dinosaurs, I love things made out of garbage. This could be ace.
  6. This is a Place is my solo show. We’ve taken over a two story abandoned furniture store and turned into a bar / immersive art experience / studio. It will be forever evolving during SALA and we are hosting all the after parties.

Follow Kaspar Schmidt Mumm here.


Janine Dello

Janine Dello – photo supplied

Challenging the ideas of the contemporary female experience, Janine Dello can be found in her studio layering her signature pastel-coloured oils to create the picture-perfect portrait. Inspired by fantasy-like fashion imagery, Dello continues to explore female vulnerabilities in her work.

What are you hanging out to see this SALA and why?

  1. Beneath by Margaret Ambridge – This exhibition will be quite something in this large space and a must see. Consisting of ethereal figurative charcoal drawings on cast off bed sheets and pillowcases.
  2. Tenebrous by Alex Beckinsale and Caitlin Bowe – I have followed these two young emerging artists and love what they create. Dark and thought-provoking work that includes charcoal and digital drawings and sculpture. Well worth the drive to Uraidla.
  3. Saint Ignatius Art Show, Norwood – This exhibition will showcase dozens of selected artists, both emerging and established. A great way to view work by many talented local visual artists in one venue.
  4. It’s only natural – The artists in this group exhibition, which I have some work in, explore the human connection to nature, in their own personal way.
  5. 30 degrees South by Anna Horne and Olivia Kathigitis – These two artists will be showcasing their work about conscious art and I resonate with the ethics of Ensemble Studios; local and sustainable products.

Follow Janine here.


Julia Robinson

Julia Roberts – photo by Sam Roberts

Working with sculpture and installations, Julia Robinson’s work reflects an interest in religion, death and the afterlife. Forcing us out of our comfort zones, Robinson’s work examines our discomfort with death and how humans address these concerns through ritual.

What are you hanging out to see this SALA and why?

With so much exceptional work on show, it’s hard to narrow the field but the following SALA events have particularly caught my eye.

  1. Kate Kurucz: The Inland Sea
  2. Ray Harris: Hunger of the Void
  3. Amy Joy Watson: Super Natural Geologies
  4. Sam Gold and Harriet McKay: Material Connections
  5. Yoko Lowe: Life as Lines
  6. Various artists: PechaKucha Night

The Inland Sea by Kate Kurucz and Hunger of the Void by Ray Harris at Praxis Artspace promises to be haunting and poetic, unearthing our preoccupation with doomed expeditions and psychological narratives. Amy Joy Watson’s Super Natural Geologies at Hugo Michell Gallery will offer us a glimpse of her meticulously crafted and delightfully curious vision of Utopia. Material Connections at Floating Goose Studios brings Sam Gold and Harriet McKay together in a sensitive collaboration exploring the power of touch and haptic connections. Emerging artist Yoko Lowe is showing a series of delicately scribed and densely layered egg tempera works in Life as Lines at the City of Mitcham Foyer Art Gallery. And finally, I can’t go past PechaKucha Night; a delicious burst of short, sharp and shiny PechaKucha 20×20 talks from a great line up of artists at Nexus Arts.

Follow Julia here.


Datsun Tran

Datsun Tran – photo by Amelia Stanwix

Having exhibited all over Australia, North America, Asia and Europe, Datsun Tran’s work has varied in style and subject matter. While Tran’s work primarily focuses on the natural world, Tran explores themes of conflict, utopia, personal identity and human bonds/divisions.   

What are you hanging out to see this SALA and why?

This year, I’m most looking forward to Margaret Ambridge’s show Beneath at Praxis Artspace. I’ve always been a fan of Margaret’s work besides her obvious mastery of charcoal, her intimate and sometimes confronting subject matter is a pleasure to work through. I’m looking forward to seeing a large body of work from her under the one roof. We cross paths quite often since we both work out of Central Studios, but I’ve restrained myself from asking for a sneak peek at her show so I can feel the full impact at the opening. I’m also looking forward to the Central Studios open day, which is always an interesting opportunity to speak to and show the public through a working art making space.

Follow Datsun here.

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