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May 1, 2024

Savouring art and culture at Tasting Australia’s Dining Galleries

Ahead of Tasting Australia's Friday opening, CityMag sat down with Gabriel Stengle whose artwork features in the new Town Square event space, Dining Galleries.

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  • Words and pictures: Claudia Dichiera
  • First picture: Gabriel Stengle standing by her artwork titled Community

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that the following story mentions deceased persons.

Gabriel Stengle has always had an interest in art.


Dining Galleries at Tasting Australia
May 3—May 12 2024
Town Square
Tarntanyangga Victoria Square, Adelaide 5000
Browse the Dining Galleries program here.


“I was always brought up around it,” she says. “So my Nana and my uncle were both accomplished artists — Aboriginal artists,” Gabriel says.

“And always being at my Nana’s house, she was always doing artwork. Her kitchen was always filled with canvases that she’s working on,” with decorated emu eggs another area of creativity.

“My uncle did a lot of artwork around the Ngarrindjeri Dreamtime and so I’ve always been surrounded by it.”

Gabriel Stengle standing by her artwork titled Community


Gabriel says a significant part of her artwork is storytelling. Being a Ngarrindjeri, Narungga, Wirangu and Kaurna woman, she says “keeping our stories alive and being able to pass it on” is important.

“I think for me, too, is always wanting to share the stories and be outspoken and proud about those things, because I’ve got to carry that on for my children,” she says.

Gabriel’s dad and late uncle Jack were both part of the Stolen Generation. Gabriel says that while the two were brothers by blood, they were put in the same home “and actually weren’t told they were brothers”.

“Everyone was family, but they didn’t find out until they were a little bit older that they were actually brothers,” she says.

“But my uncle always had this yearning for it — he always was into his art, and was constantly wanting to find out about the Ngarrindjeri culture that he was constantly painting it.

“He’s passed away now, but we have those stories through his artwork still because of him.”


Connect with Gabriel on Instagram

This storytelling aspect extends to the work she does with clients.

“They tell me what they’re looking for, and the story of themselves as a company and I take keywords from the talks that we have,” Gabriel says.

“I really like to sit down with them and see what they’re really wanting and for me it’s a proud moment, because there’s someone who you never thought of wanting a piece of Aboriginal art; but not just because, [It’s] because they want to tell their story in a different way.

“I’m taking everything that they feel about their work, and then turning it into a story using the symbols and stuff through Aboriginal art.”

Alex Bellas’ Dining Galleries cube


This year’s Tasting Australia introduces Dining Galleries — glass cubes in Town Square hosting an array of foodie events, dressed up by four South Australian artists: Dana KinterAlex Bellas, Billie Justice Thomson and Gabriel.

“We’ve really changed the look and feel of the square [by introducing] four beautiful Dining Galleries,” Tasting Australia festival director, Karena Armstrong told us in December last year.

“I love art, and I think art has a real interaction with food, and how people view beauty or the world can be reflected both in food and wine experiences, but also in art.

“So bringing art into the space was something we’ve been working on for a while, and each dining moment in there will look slightly different to the other.

“It’s not one big room this year: it’s four separate spaces, and it’s an interaction with art and culture.”

Part of Dana Kinter’s Dining Galleries cube


Gabriel says that the red centre piece of her Dining Galleries artwork represents South Australia.

“And then surrounding that are the people… the U shapes,” she says.

“Then the blue water homes on the corners there, they’re representing the many different communities on the outside.

“There’s more symbols of people throughout and then there’s the waterholes on the outside, the meeting places with the kangaroo tracks are connected with journey lines which is representing people on their journey all over SA coming to the centre.

“The kangaroo tracks are representing always moving forward and never back.”

Gabriel says “it’s like we are moving forward” in regards to showcasing Aboriginal art more frequently in South Australia.

“You know, celebrating the culture more, which I really love, because I didn’t see it a lot growing up,” she says.

“The symbolism for me for the tracks is the always moving forward, and making sure that as a state, South Australia, that we’re proud of the oldest living culture in the world.”


Gabriel says that while she shares stories through her art for public viewing, the most important people she shares stories with are her three daughters.

“They’re probably one of my biggest inspirations when I like to do art for myself,” she says.

“I’ve worked at my girls’ school a few times going in, and they’re proud to have me talking about culture and art and working with their classmates and doing artwork.

“I noticed when they do their drawings and stuff, they do their symbols, and [say] ‘oh mum, this is me, and then this is this’… [they’re] doing the symbols.

“I think they’re becoming more proud to speak up about their culture and talk about it more because they’re always surrounded by it at home and they’re not afraid to speak about it, which is what I love as well.”

The Dining Galleries are located at Town Square, Tarntanyangga Victoria Square, Adelaide and will be on show for Tasting Australia which runs from May 3 until May 12.

Connect with Tasting Australia and Gabriel on Instagram for more.

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