Image: Elizabeth Close, Take Nothing; Leave Nothing, installation view, Yungondi UniSA Business, 2022. Photograph Lana Adams. 

The Catapult + Tarnanthi 2023 mentorship saw Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara artist Elizabeth Close undertake mentorship opportunity to further her creative practice.

Elizabeth was mentored by multidisciplinary Wiradjuri artist Karla Dickens. Known for her use of found and recycled objects/materials, Dickens utilises her multidisciplinary practice, spanning painting, photography, video, collage, sculpture and installation, to explore themes such as race, gender, and injustice.

Throughout the mentorship Karla and Elizabeth worked together to challenge Elizabeth’s practice, culminating in the creation of new work that pushes boundaries and challenges perspectives to be exhibited during Tarnanthi Festival 20 October 2023 – 21 January 2024 at the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Tarnanthi is presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia with Principal Partner BHP and support from the Government of South Australia.


Image: Courtesy Elizabeth Close.

Elizabeth Close: SandWoman

20 October 2023 – 21 January 2024
Tarnanthi Festival
Art Gallery of South Australia

For Tarnanthi 2023, Close has created a series of works for which she has reclaimed and revived parts of abandoned cars found on Country. She developed this new body of work while taking part in the Guildhouse Catapult + Tarnanthi mentorship program.

She participated in the program in 2022–23 under the mentorship of Wiradjuri artist Karla Dickens. This provided Close with an opportunity to strengthen conceptual and critical skills under the guidance of one of Australia’s foremost contemporary Aboriginal artists, who works across painting, sculpture, collage and assemblage, often using and reinterpreting found objects in her work.

Public Program:
Tuesday Talks

21 November 2023
Art Gallery of South Australia

Tuesday Talks are an ongoing program by the Art Gallery of South Australia offering insights from experts and artists about key works of art on display. Join us in this edition to hear from artist Elizabeth Close speak about her work SandWoman, created for Tarnanthi Festival 2023 through the Catapult + Tarnanthi Catapult mentorship opportunity.

About the artists:

Image: Elizabeth Close, Beneath, 2021, mixed media on wood, photo courtesy of the artist.

Elizabeth Close is a Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara woman, whose family links are to the communities of Pukutja and Amata in the APY. Elizabeth is a mid-career, Aboriginal Visual Artist living and working on Unceded Kaurna Country. She has spent the past 16 years crafting a dynamic and bold multi-disciplinary arts practice that speaks to her own personal Connection to Country, the concept of connection to place and space and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander relationships with the landscape. Elizabeth also seeks to create works that spark considered discussion and thought around the broader politics that underpin her practice. She works primarily in the mediums of 2D arts, large scale public art and digital media; thriving in experimentation, collaboration and challenge.  

Image: Karla Dickens, For Sale, 2022, mixed media, 124 x 124 cm. Phtotograph Michelle Eabry, courtesy STATION. 

Born in 1967 in Sydney, Karla Dickens is an artist of Wiradjuri, Irish and German descent, living and working on Bundjalung Country in New South Wales. Through her multidisciplinary practice – spanning painting, photography, video, collage, sculpture and installation ­– Dickens brings a black humour to her unflinching interrogation of subjects such as race, gender and injustice. Described as a ‘found-object’ virtuoso, her practice often places overlooked or discarded objects into new contexts to interrogate Australian culture, contest histories and agitate for change.

Dickens graduated from the National Art School, Sydney, with a Diploma of Fine Arts in 1993 and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2000. She has exhibited throughout Australia and abroad since the early 1990s. Dickens’ work has featured in major group exhibitions in Australia and internationally, including ‘A Dickensian Country Show’, Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia and ‘A Dickensian Country Circus’, NIRIN: 22nd Biennale of Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2020, and she is one of nine artists selected to create a new commission for the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ major expansion project, Sydney Modern, launching late 2022. In 2023 Dickens’ major survey exhibition Embracing Shadows opened at Campbelltown Arts Centre, spanning thirty years of practice. Dickens work is held in many public and private collections across Australia and internationally.

Karla Dickens is represented by STATION.

Tarnanthi is presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia with Principal Partner BHP and support from the Government of South Australia.