Celebrating 30 Years of Desert Mob

Desert Mob is a unique and vibrant event curated by Aboriginal artists. It is a total immersion in the artwork and stories of Aboriginal art from the desert. And this year, the celebration is going digital.

Desart, the peak industry body for over 30 Aboriginal owned and operated art & craft centres, and presenting partner Araluen Arts Centre, have been working closely with Desart members to transform the annual celebration into an immersive and inclusive online experience.Desert Mob will provide an opportunity for artists and art centres to generate much-needed income since the hard-hitting coronavirus. Remote art centres have always been uniquely equipped to operate digitally due to their location and nature of work, and this year’s program is an extension of that, projecting Desert Mob onto every screen no matter where you are.“By presenting Desert Mob online this year, Desart continues to promote Aboriginal culture, showcase the artwork for which Central Australia is famous for, and celebrate the artists, artworkers and art centres.” Philip Watkins, CEO Desart.

Untitled, 2019 by Hayley Coulthard was featured in last years Desart Photography Prize.

Exhibition 11 September – 25 October, Araluen Arts Centre, Mparntwe (Alice Springs) and Online

Featuring hundreds of new works by emerging and established artists, this year’s exhibition promises to be a dynamic interplay of traditional and contemporary works reflecting multiple artists’ cultural voices.
The exhibition presents paintings, sculpture, weaving, wood carving, prints, photography and works on paper.Online sales will begin at 9am on Friday 11 September. If you’re in Alice Springs you can book in a free ticketed public viewing from 1pm. The exhibition will continue until Sunday 25th October at Araluen Arts Centre and is open from 10am – 4pm daily.

Symposium 4 – 11 September, Online
This year’s digital Desert Mob Symposium takes you into the Art Centres with a series of short films. The discussions explore achievements, developments and contemporary practice from the resilient and innovative member art centres.The Symposium allows viewers to place context around the artwork, developing an understanding of the artist’s culture, community and country. Revealing some teasers, Desart staff said “We feel really privileged to have been invited to film artists stories, in their art centres, from senior artists to emerging; strong stories about the need for cultural objects to be returned to country and how Aboriginal art can be a political platform to express contemporary social and cultural issues from the bush.” The Symposium will run over seven days, with new topics and presentations released each day, starting on Friday 4th September.

Mervyn Rubuntja, Hubert Pareroultja and Marlene Rubuntja. Photo by Rhett Hammerton.

MarketPlace 12 – 19 September, Online

The MarketPlace provides a unique opportunity to explore and purchase artworks from the emerging and established artists from over 30 participating Art Centres across NT, SA and WA. Art lovers everywhere can share in the artists’ stories and culture. New works will be added over the week so make sure you check back and find some favourites! Desart will host the virtual marketplace linking art lovers directly to art centres.Desert Mob is presented in partnership with Araluen Arts Centre.

Tjanpi Desert Arts at Bluethumb's WOMADelaide stall

Pictured here at WOMADelaide, the well-loved Tjanpi sculptures were a hit at the Desart Mob exhibition opening last year. We bet they’ll be just as adored this year!

About Desart

Desart is the peak body for 35 Aboriginal Art and Craft Centres in Central Australia. The Desart membership covers the central desert region of Australia and encompasses three state borders South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory this is an area of 1.221 million square kilometres.

A Trip to Kalipinypa by Shekayla Major was featured in the Desart Photography Prize 2019

About Art Centres

Art Centres are a vital part of community life in remote Central Australia. As well as providing much needed income and employment opportunities, they support the maintenance of culture in communities by providing a focus for family connection, social and cultural activities and the means to celebrate Aboriginal identity.

Buying artwork from Aboriginal-owned Art Centres means you are supporting families, jobs, community and the next generation of Aboriginal artists. Purchasing artwork through the Desert Mob Exhibition and MarketPlace ensures your work has outstanding provenance with fairness and transparency at every level of the commercial transaction.

This blog was gratefully contributed by Eliza Walters of Desert Mob

Greg Matthews Selected for Royal Children’s Hospital Art Trail in 2021

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