DAAF is back and bigger than ever

The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair brings together 70 Art Centres for its 17th edition.

Words: Erin Irwin

The 2023 edition of Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) will return to the Northern Territory this August, promising an impressive range of art and events that celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander culture and creativity. Set to be held as a hybrid event, DAAF will feature an art fair, two fashion events, and an online presence.

The Darwin Convention Centre will host more than 70 Art Centres, connecting creatives to a greater audience, with 100% of revenue going to exhibiting artists and their communities. “With more than 1,500 Indigenous artists and designers from some of Australia’s most remote communities journeying to the Fair”, says DAAF Foundation Executive Director Claire Summers, “visitors can learn first-hand from participants through cultural workshops, discussions by industry leaders, and demonstrations, including this year’s new outdoor experience, the DAAF Meeting Place”.

This year, for the first time, the public will be invited to the opening ceremony, which takes place on Thursday 10 August. The celebration will include all participating Art Centres, and involve performances and welcome speeches as well as an exclusive first look at the Fair.

This year will also see Country to Couture, which will showcase 23 collections of fashion and textiles, as well as hotly anticipated National Indigenous Fashion Awards (NIFA). This year there are 60 nominations for the award’s shortlist in 6 categories – a record breaking number.

“We are so excited to break records this year with the number of First Nations fashion designers involved in IFP’s NIFA and Country to Couture”, says Eastern Arrernte visual artist  and DAAF Foundation’s Artistic Director Shilo McNamee, “these events are recognised globally and in Australia’s Indigenous communities for celebrating and propelling designers to new heights, while maintaining an authentic and grassroots feel”.

Of the fair, Northern Territory Government Minister for Major Events Hon Paul Kirby says that “the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair was one of the most prestigious events of its kind in the country. DAAF draws art lovers from around the globe to see the works of leading Indigenous creatives in the Top-End”.

Participating Art Centres include Anindilyakwa Arts, Arlpwe Art and Culture Centre, Artists of Ampilatwatja, Babbarra Women’s Centre, Barkly Regional Arts, Bindi Mwerre Anthurre Artists, Buku Larrngay Mulka, Bula’bula Arts, Djilpin Arts, Durrmu Arts Aboriginal Corporation, Elcho Island Arts, Gapuwiyak Culture and Arts, Hermannsburg Potters, Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation, Ikuntji Artists, Iltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre, Injalak Arts, Jilamara Arts & Crafts Association, Karungkarni Art & Culture, Keringke Arts, Maningrida Arts & Culture, Marrawuddi Arts, Maruku Arts, Merrepen Arts Language and Culture, Milingimbi Art & Culture, Minyma Kutjara Arts Project, Munupi Arts and Crafts Association, Ngaruwanajirri Incorporated, Ngukurr Arts, Numbulwar Numburindi Arts, Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre, Papunya Tjupi Arts, Tangentyere Artists and Yarrenyty Arltere Artists, Tiwi Designs Aboriginal Corporation, Badu Art Centre, 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, Wei’Num Arts & Craft, Wik & Kugu Arts Centre, Yalanji Arts, Iwantja Arts, Kaltjiti Arts, Mimili Maku Arts, Ninuku Arts, Umoona Art Centre, Tjala Arts, Ardyaloon Art & Culture, Juluwarlu Artists, Kira Kiro Artists, Ku’arlu Mangga (Good Nest), Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Mowanjum Arts, Nagula Jarndu, Spinifex Hill Studio, Tjarlirli and Kaltukatjara Art, Waringarri Aboriginal Arts, Warlayirti Artists, Warmun Art Centre, Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Utopia Art Centre, Warakurna Artists, Waralungku Arts, Warlukurlangu Artists and Jirtirlparnta Artists, Warnayaka Art & Cultural, Yarliyil Arts Centre, Baluk Arts, Wirnda Barna Art Centre, Yamaji Art, Yinjaa-Barni Art and Walantanalinany Palingina. For more information on participating Art Centres, browse our directory here.

DAAF will be open to the public on Friday 11 August, and runs until Sunday 13 August. Tickets to Country to Couture, the NIFA, the Opening Ceremony and DAAF in-person and online are available now. To purchase your tickets or for more information, visit the fair’s website here.

This article was posted 14 July 2023.

Image: Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, 2022. Photo: Dylan Buckee. Courtesy: Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair.

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