DARWIN ABORIGINAL ART FAIR

Connection, community, Country… oh and COVID-19 — as the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) kicks off again next week, things are set to look a little different as the event moves online for the first time in its history.  

Now in its 14th year, DAAF will run for nine days from 6 August on the DAAF website and social channels. This year Peppermint is proud to partner with the event and its vibrant program of cultural performances, artist workshops and demonstrations, Indigenous food experiences and panel discussions.

On top of its diverse public program, DAAF allows for a rich exchange of art, culture and ideas with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. As we all continue the work that comes with becoming a better ally to Indigenous people here in Australia, the event is a great way to engage with the rich heritage and vibrant culture of our First Nations people.

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.

IMAGE: 2019 DARWIN ABORIGINAL ART FAIR. PHOTO BY DYLAN BUCKEE.

 

“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,” DAAF Foundation Executive Director Claire Summers shared. “It’s exciting to be able to deliver DAAF in such an engaging and accessible format – by moving to a digital platform, we can reach a truly global audience and help people from all walks of life explore the wonderful world of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and design.” 

This year although DAAF’s annual Country to Couture event won’t be going ahead, organisers will launch the National Indigenous Fashion Awards (NIFA) on NITV’s social media channels on 5 August. Developed as a platform to recognise and celebrate the innovation, diversity and ethical practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and fashion designers, NIFA will provide opportunities for growth through business development, mentorship, financial support and promotion and skills development.

IMAGE: CHILDREN’S WORKSHOP WITH ANINDILYAKWA ARTS AT 2019 DARWIN ABORIGINAL ART FAIR. PHOTO BY DYLAN BUCKEE.

IMAGE: 2019 DARWIN ABORIGINAL ART FAIR. PHOTO BY DYLAN BUCKEE.

 

“Showcasing vibrant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditions in new contemporary forms enables us to share the powerful stories which have connected Australia’s First Nations Peoples to this country since time immemorial,” NIFA Creative Director, Nina Fitzgerald, said. “Fashion is a medium which transcends cultural boundaries, and can be the vehicle to bring people together.”

Still boasting all the usual excitement and vibrancy of the real-life Fair, the digital program has been thoughtfully curated to offer a series of online events including basket weaving, watercolour painting, artist talks and cultural performances. While some events have already sold out, others are selling fast so check out our pick of the bunch below. 

IMAGE: ARPAKA DANCERS FROM THURSDAY ISLAND AT 2019 DARWIN ABORIGINAL ART FAIR. PHOTO BY DYLAN BUCKEE.

IMAGE: MORNINGTON ISLAND DANCERS AT 2019 DARWIN ABORIGINAL ART FAIR. PHOTO BY DYLAN BUCKEE.

 

Both Ways, Baskets Weaving

Sit with master weavers from Groote Eylandt, including Maicie Lalara who recently returned from an art residency in Jakarta, to learn the basics of weaving baskets using ghost nets, along with recycled fabrics and pandanus fibres.

Friday 7 August

12.30pm – 2:00pm (ACST)

Online event via Zoom

Hands on Watercolour Painting

Acclaimed artists from Iltja Ntjarra Art Centre will teach a watercolour landscape masterclass. Learn how to paint the beautiful desert sky, the MacDonnell Ranges, and the iconic white gumtrees. 

Monday 10 August

1:00pm – 2:30pm (ACST)

Online Event via Zoom

Artists of Iltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre

Artists of Iltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre, Mervyn Rubuntja, Clara Inkamala and Selma Nunay Coulthard, will share stories and insight into their varied careers as artists and teachers with Indigenous curator Tina Baum.

Friday 7 August

1.00pm – 1.45pm (ACST)

Free online event via Zoom

The Monster Net Project

Join artists Annabel Amagula and Maicie Lalara for their talk, ‘The Monster Net Project’, about their Asialink Artist in Residence project, facilitated by Erin Vink.

Friday 7 August

11.00am – 11.45am (ACST)

Free online event via Zoom

Long Water: Fibre Stories

‘Long Water: Fibre Stories’ artists, Susan Balbunga, Fiona Elisala-Mosby, Ruth Nalmakarra and Lucy Simpson, join exhibition curator, Freja Carmichael, in conversation, as the artists discuss their work and personal connections to salt water and fresh water Country.

Friday 14 August

11.00am – 11:45am (ACST)

Free online event via Zoom

Mornington Island Dancers

Since their very first public performance in Cairns in August 1964, the Mornington Island Dancers have been sharing Traditional Lardil culture with audiences.

Monday 10 August

11:00am – 11:30am (ACST)

Free online event via Facebook


TOP IMAGE: ELCHO ISLAND ARTS BOOTH AT 2019 DARWIN ABORIGINAL ART FAIR BY DYLAN BUCKEE. 
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