A Window into the Oldest Living Culture on Earth

First Nations art and culture will be celebrated at this year’s Red Poles First Nations Fringe Festival through a visual art exhibition, interactive workshops, demonstrations, storytelling and live music performances

feature (adelaide) | Read in About 4 minutes
34096 large
Red Poles First Nations Fringe Festival image courtesy of Ros Miller
Published 04 Feb 2024

Set among vineyards and natural bushland in McLaren Vale, Red Poles is a multi-award winning restaurant, B&B and art gallery with an Indigenous focus, especially during Fringe.

This festival season, Red Poles is proud to present the Yalata – A Happy, Healthy, and Safe Community art exhibition which owner Ros Miller describes as a “window into the oldest living culture on Earth.”

“This exhibition is a vibrant celebration of indigenous art and culture, set to make a significant impact at the Fringe 2024,” she says. 

“The heart of this initiative lies in showcasing the creative talents of Yalata artists, descendants of Pitjantjatjara Anangu desert people who were displaced from their traditional lands and brought to Yalata Mission in the late 1940s.

“The exhibition from Yalata will feature a diverse collection of artworks and artefacts, each bearing a rich cultural heritage and contemporary expressions of these gifted artists. There will be a mix of 2D and 3D works including paintings, ceramics, baskets, weaving, punu and other artforms.”

The exhibition is in collaboration with the Yalata Anangu Aboriginal Corporation with artists Vanessa Quema, Melissa Windlass, Emma Palmer representing the community with the support of Far West Coast artist Pam Diment.

Miller also notes that the exhibition is an opportunity for artists from the small community, located around 1,000km from Adelaide at the head of the Great Australian Bight, to share their stories and creative work with the wider community. 

“[I am looking forward to] the opportunity for artists from the remote Yalata region to feature their art in Red Poles gallery for the first time and providing them the opportunity to travel and stay at Red Poles and share their stories and artistic practices with the wider community.

“First Nations Voices will perform at Red Poles for the first time thus bringing this wonderful experience into the McLaren Vale region for the first time.

“This platform for First Nations creatives is very important to Red Poles and this focus on Aboriginal arts and culture has been a vital component of Red Poles' artistic statement for the past 18 years. Red Poles has consistently represented and supported Indigenous communities including Ceduna, Oak Valley, Scotdesco, Maruku, Eastern and Western Desert, Mimli, Indulkana and now Yalata.”

Miller also describes the exhibition as an opportunity for visitors of all ages and nationalities to immerse themselves in First Nations culture.

“The aim is in collaboration with Yalata and First Nations Voices we will have created a space for people of all ages and all nationalities to enjoy and participate in a programme of events that celebrate Aboriginal arts and culture and increase their knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal culture and hear stories intrinsic to the region through varied traditional and contemporary art forms.

“Demonstrations will appeal to adults and children and include storytelling and encourage interaction for a shared learning experience.”

In addition, the Red Poles Festival will feature musical performances that “transcend time and showcase a chronicle of life and culture” from First Nations artists including Glenn Skuthorpe, Thelma Cheechoo and Vern Cheechoo.

“We'll also be celebrating some of Australia's leading First Nations musicians, with musical experiences that showcase a chronicle of life and culture through bold and powerful stories,” Miller explains. 

“The event with a fire circle fuels the mosaic of their sacred land and the blending of bold and powerful stories will ring on for generations to come," she says. "Set around the theme of a campfire, the fire circle, where they can identify with cultural stories shared through generations past and present.”



The Red Poles First Nations Fringe Festival is free to all and kicks off with Indigenous artist demonstrations held throughout the afternoon on 10 February. An official opening and feature artist exhibition talks, demonstrations and live music with Glenn Skuthorpe performs on Monday 18 February, 12.30pm. Until 17 March