SALA, the annual Festival of South Australian Living Artists, 1 to 31 August

Jonathan Kim, Inner via Outer, Stone & Cloth (detail), stone, cloth and timber, 120.5 x 84cm. Courtesy the artist and SALA Festival, South Australia

SALA festival is taking it to the digital world this year with a bigger than ever program of art across all genres for its 23rd presentation. SALA is a much-loved community-based open access visual arts festival embracing the skills and creativity of artists from every corner of South Australia working at all stages of their careers, from amateur to emerging and established.

SALA is recognised as one of the biggest and most celebrated events on the South Australian arts calendar and involves venues across the city of Adelaide and out to regional South Australia. This year, the program is accessible online, and via the SALA app, which is available for download from your App Store, providing more opportunity for participating artists to showcase their creative talents to the broader community.

Margaret Dodd, Holden with hair curlers, c. 1977, from the series ‘This Woman is Not a Car’, ceramics, 20.5 x 40 x 18cm. Courtesy Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide and SALA Festival, South Australia

The challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic have in no way swayed the organisers from forging ahead with another fabulous festival. In response to the current climate and social distancing regulations SALA appealed to artists to wow audiences with a show of adaptability and innovative ideas for the creation and presentation of their art in the face of these unusual and somewhat restrictive circumstances. Host venues including galleries, cafés, retail shops and other community spaces, who comply with State Government guidelines for safe patronage, are taking part and more than 100 exhibitions will be showcased online only.

A diverse range of artistic practices are set to light up the SALA stage in a radiant burst of colour and artistic energy across 300 exhibitions showcasing sculpture, painting, photography, installation, glassblowing, ceramics, drawing and textiles, as well as conversations, performance, filmmaking presentations.

Themes of migration, isolation, observation, the environment, social change, identity and our current global existence will manifest through the creative explorations of approximately 4,000 exciting South Australian artists. The cohort includes Kirsten Coelho, Troy-Anthony Bayliss, Tom Moore, Margaret Dodd, Brad Darkson, Andrew Clarke, Monte Masi, Cindi Drennan, Gerry Wedd, Jasmine Crisp, Elizabeth Yani Close, Cassie Thring, Jane Skeer, Mary-Jean Richardson, Paul Sloan, Yusuf Hayat, Sera Waters and Arlon Hall, to name but a few.

Sophie Corso, Science of Rainbows, moving image, HD 2.57 minutes. Courtesy the artist and SALA Festival, South Australia

SALA Festival Highlights include open studios, audio presentations, drive-by exhibitions, the outdoor sculpture exhibition ‘SALA in the Park’ at Adelaide’s Centennial Park, and the SALA Awards: City of Adelaide Incubator Award and the Country Arts Breaking Ground Award.

The Virtual Open Studios Weekend runs 8 to 9 August offering audiences an online viewing platform for a look into the working studios of artists across a range of artistic disciplines.

The annual SALA Forum evolves into a new Podcast series of artists in conversation with art industry professionals, with new episodes to be released throughout the festival. The new SALA DIY Audio Tour invites the community to explore a number of exhibitions walking the city streets or by listening to the tour at a time that suits them from wherever they may be. PechaKucha Night 20×20 is a presentation of 20 images, each showing for 20 seconds. SALA invites artists to “present in the PechaKucha 20×20 format for a night of art-inspired frivolity” to share their work and ideas among their creative comrades and with the public.

Kirsten Coelho, Ithaca #2, 2019, Porcelain, matt white glaze. Photograph: Grant Hancock Courtesy the artist, Sullivan and Strumpf, Sydney and Philip Bacon Galleries, Brisbane

Each year SALA releases a printed book that draws focus to the current and future practices of the SALA featured artist complemented by the written works of an emerging, and an established writer. There are currently 21 books in the series and this year ceramic artist Kirsten Coehlo’s work fills the pages of the 22nd SALA Publication. Listen to Coehlo in conversation with Curator of Decorative Arts, Rebecca Evans here. Explore the full series of SALA books here.

“The enduring power of art and art-making can be witnessed in the SALA program this year. It has been heartening to see artists continue to make work in such challenging circumstances and to utilise the SALA platform to express themselves and bring communities back together,” says SALA CEO Kate Moskwa.

We really encourage people to explore South Australia via the SALA online program and app. You can pick a region and support local SA businesses and independent artists. With registrations open until the end of the festival exhibitions are being added all the time, so we suggest people revisit the program during August to find out what’s new.”

The 2020 SALA South Australian Living Artists Festival is mammoth. Visiting the website to explore all that the festival has planned is a must do for your arty bucket list. Follow SALA on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.