18 years and counting for DAAF

The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair will return to the Top End this August.

Words: Erin Irwin

2024 will see Larrakia Country welcome back the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) for the 18th time, with the city set to stage not only a massive presentation of Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander artists and Art Centres, but also Country to Couture and the National Indigenous Fashion Awards. The events, organised by the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation, are an exceptional opportunity for collectors to explore the breadth of First Nations artistic practice and design, as well as an opportunity to expand their collections with ethical collecting in mind.

This year’s edition of DAAF will see more than 75 Art Centres and 1,500 artists participate from across Australia, each bringing their distinct take on cultural traditions and Country. Works on sale range from paintings on canvas and bark to prints, sculpture, fibre art, textiles and fashion, and all profits from the fair go straight back to artists and communities.

Attendants can also participate in public programs and events, including Artist Masterclasses where you can learn from practicing artists and makers. Jewellery-making classes with Gab Titui Cultural Centre, Elcho Island and Ikuntji Artists, painting classes with Iltja Ntjarra (Many Hands) Art Centre, and Boab Nut Carving with Waringarri Aboriginal Arts are all experiences up for grabs. There will also be dance performances from Munupi Arts & Crafts Association and Jilamara Arts & Crafts Association, Kenbi Dancers, and Banumbirr from Elcho Island, and workshops for kids with TITEB Pirlangimpi Women’s Centre and Erub Arts.

Country to Couture will hit the runway on August 6, which has provided a crucial platform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander design since 2016. The event has been a key event for the fair to explore the exceptional diversity in First Nations contemporary fashion design and textile practices, and this year will again demonstrate in spectacular form the intersection between fashion and art with two different runway shows. The National Indigenous Fashion Awards (NIFA) will be held the following day, which will recognise many creators across six categories – with the Cecilia Cubillo Young Achiever Award debuting this year. It has been a record year for NIFA this year, with 63 total nominations and a shortlist of 36 set to compete, so the event is not to be missed.

8 August will see the Opening Ceremony of the art fair, with participating Art Centres this year to include Arlpwe Art and Culture Centre, Artists of Ampilatwatja, Bábbarra Women’s Centre, Barkly Regional Arts, BIMA Wear Association, Bindi Mwerre Anthurre Artists, Buku Larrŋgay Mulka, Bula’bula Arts, Djilpin Arts, Durrmu Arts Aboriginal Corporation, Elcho Island Arts, Gapuwiyak Culture and Arts, Hermannsburg Potters, Ikuntji Artists, Iltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre, Injalak Arts, Jilamara Arts & Crafts Association, Keringke Arts, Maningrida Arts & Culture, Marrawuddi Arts & Culture, Maruku Arts, Merrepen Arts Language and Culture, Milingimbi Art & Culture, Munupi Arts and Crafts Association, Ngaruwanajirri Incorporated, Ngukurr Arts, Numbulwar Numburindi Arts, Papulankutja Artists, Papunya Tjupi Arts, Pirlangimpi Women’s Centre, Tangentyere Artists and Yarrenyty Arltere Artists, Tiwi Designs Aboriginal Corporation, Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Utopia Art Centre, Walkatjara Art, Warakurna Artists, and Warnayaka Art & Cultural Aboriginal Corporation from NT. From QLD the fair will host Badu Art Centre, Erub Arts, Gab Titui Cultural Centre, Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre, Mirndiyan Gununa – MIArt Mornington Island Art, Moa Arts, Pormpuraaw Art & Culture Centre, Salt Water Murris Quandamooka Art Gallery, UMI Arts, Wik & Kugu Arts Centre, and Yalanji Arts. From SA will be Iwantja Arts, Mimili Maku Arts, and Ninuku Arts, from WA will be Ingarlgalandij Art and Culture Hub (Ardyaloon), Juluwarlu Artists, Kira Kiro Artists, Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Martumili Artists, Mowanjum Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre, Nagula Jarndu, Spinifex Hill Studio, Tjarlirli and Kaltukatjara Art, Waringarri Aboriginal Arts, Warlayirti Artists, Warmun Art Centre, Wirnda Barna Art Centre, Yamaji Art, and Yinjaa-Barni Art, from VIC will be Baluk Arts and Kaiela Arts, and last but not least from NSW will be Malang Indigenous Corporation.

Collectors who can’t make it to Darwin this time around should check out the online arm of the fair, which will feature many of the Art Centres participating in the physical fair. Both the online and in-person fairs will run 9 August until 11 August. To find out more, head to DAAF’s website here.

This article was posted 11 June 2024.

Image: Aerial Photo, Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, 2023, Photo: Dylan Buckee. Courtesy: Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation.


Sydney Contemporary reveals lineup

The art fair will return to Carriageworks this September.

Guy Warren passes after 80 years of artmaking

The eminent Australian artist has died aged 103.

Mabel Juli honoured with Red Ochre Award

The senior Gija artist is recognised for her lifetime achievement in the arts.

Artists go undercover once again

The Incognito Art Show returns to Sydney this July.