DAAF 2020 Goes Digital

Australia’s largest Indigenous art event to be held online.

Words: Donnalyn Xu

The Darwin Aboriginal Arts Fair (DAAF) is returning for its 14th year, reaching audiences from across the globe through a new digital format. Staged by the not-for-profit Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation, the virtual fair and supporting online events will connect Art Centres with art buyers, and create wider community awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.

Following the COVID-19 restrictions, DAAF has sought to reimagine this prestigious art event. With the unique opportunity to reach an even broader Australian and international audience through digital channels, the fair has been crafted to deliver a program that celebrates and supports Indigenous artists from some of Australia’s most remote regions.

“In either an online or offline format, DAAF creates an important meeting place for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to come together to celebrate the rich heritage and vibrant culture of our First Nations Peoples,” says Foundation executive director Claire Summers.

The public program will be hosted on the DAAF website and social media channels, featuring cultural performances, artist workshops and demonstrations, Indigenous food experiences, panel discussions, and a children’s collaborative art project. Six online sessions will provide a behind-the-scenes look into art world, bringing together Indigenous curators, senior Art Centre staff, and special guests in the Cultural Keepers Program.

Although the popular Country to Couture fashion show has been postponed, the Inaugural National Indigenous Fashion Awards will celebrate the innovation, diversity, and ethical practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and fashion designers.

Summers believes art’s ability to promote joy, hope, and inspiration is incredibly important – now more than ever. “Creativity can be expressed and shared in many ways, so moving beyond the boundaries of a physical fair made sense in 2020, particularly given our collective yearning for a sense of connection and meaning as we move out of lockdown.”

The fair gives art enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy the rich diversity of Indigenous culture, but more importantly, supports Indigenous owned community Art Centres and artists. At the heart of the DAAF Foundation is its mission to encourage the production and ethical promotion of Aboriginal arts. DAAF takes no commissions on the artworks sold, and all sales will be returned to Art Centres and their communities.

DAAF will take place from 6 to 14 August.

Find out more about the fair and its participating Art Centres on the DAAF website here.

Preorder your copy of the Darwin Art Fair 2020 special edition here.

Image: Anindilyakwa Arts weaving workshop at the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair 2018. Photography: Murray Hilton.

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