Jobs Events Advertise

Record $4.4 million of Indigenous art sold at Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair in 2023

Phoebe Blogg -

Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair's 2023 event achieved a record $4.4 million in art and design sales, it has been announced.

Marking the event's 17th time returning to Darwin, the 2023 art fair, presented by the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) Foundation, injected $12 million into the Northern Territory economy whilst operating as a hybrid in-person and online event during August.

Having hosted 78 Art Centres that collectively represented 1,600 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives, DAAF ensured that 100 per cent of revenue returned directly to both the participating Art Centres and their local communities.

Located in the heart of the Ramingining community in Central Arnhem Land, Bula'Bula Art Centre was one of the Fair's 78 participating Art Centres.

Despite travelling 400 kilometres by troopy to Darwin for the event, the team at Bula'Bula Art Centre were thrilled to be a part of this years event.

Bula'Bula Art Centre artist Andrew Wanamalil was a first time art fair attendee.

The proud Ganalbingu man said the art fair was a proud and unforgettable experience.

"Attending DAAF for the first time made me feel so proud of myself and my community," Mr Wanamalil said.

"I was so excited to share my art with people from all over Australia and to see my work on display among the industry's best and brightest. I can't wait to return next year and bring my family with me."

Bula'Bula Art Centre Manager, Mel George was also delighted to be involved in this year's event, saying it is events like DAAF that strive to celebrate Indigenous culture and keep it alive.

"When you're at DAAF, you suddenly see the big community and the movement that you're a part of - is it uniquely Australian. Each Art Centre is like a spark, and at DAAF when we're all together, there are all these sparks of magic going off to create fireworks of colour, art, culture and more," Ms George said.

"It's an unparalleled experience for Art Centres and Fair visitors, and this year was no exception.

"The event is also important for our Art Centre as it's an income source for the community, and one that is culturally appropriate.

"One of the most important roles that Art Centres play is giving people who are strong in cultural education the tools to economically support themselves and communities, which is why events like DAAF are needed to assist them in working on Country and keeping culture alive."

Artist Andrew Wanamalil. (Image: supplied)

Having earned a global reputation for providing attendees with the rare opportunity to immerse themselves in authentic First Nations art, design and culture, and to ethically purchase artworks from Art Centres, this year's event drew 15,874 visitors in person, and 13,157 online.

Over the past nine years alone (2015-2023), DAAF has generated more than $26.109 million for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art sector.

"We are proud to not only celebrate a record $4.4 million in sales for DAAF but also to acknowledge the immeasurable opportunities the fair has provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives for the past 17 years," DAAF Foundation executive director, Claire Summers said.

"Our Indigenous Fashion Projects events, Country to Couture and the National Indigenous Fashion Awards, which are proudly hosted as a feature of the Fair's program, also broke records this year, with 22 collections gracing the prestigious runway and 66 nominations shortlisted for the awards."

Behind the scenes at DAAF 2023. (Image: Leicolhn McKellar)

2023 also marked the first year that ARIA Award winner and Darwin-raised artist Jessica Mauboy visited the Fair in person since being named the Foundation's Community Ambassador.

"It's an incredible experience having the opportunity to be surrounded by the vibrant artworks, stories and cultures of First Nations communities from some of the most remote parts of Australia at DAAF," Ms Mauboy said.

"It warmed my heart to be able to take part in this year's Fair and to meet and celebrate other First Nations creatives on beautiful Larrakia Country."

With this years event having been of great success for both artists, local communities and Northern Territory tourism sector, hype surrounding which artists, artworks and guests will attend the 2024 event has already begun.

"DAAF provides a global stage for First Nations artists from the Northern Territory, as well as artists from remote, rural, and regional communities across Australia, to showcase their artistic creations. It also serves as a nexus for both established and emerging artists to engage with art enthusiasts and buyers from around the world," Northern Territory Government minister for arts, culture and heritage, Chansey Paech said.

The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair will return for its 18th year in person and online from August 9-11, 2024.

For more fashion, beauty and lifestyle news subscribe for free to the Style Up newsletter.


Victorian First Peoples Art and Design Fair looks to bring 'whole gamut' on debut in 2025
Inaugural Victorian First Peoples Arts and Design Fair senior project manager Janina Harding has “big plans” for seeing creative...
Jarred Cross 24 Feb 2024
Thomas Weatherall’s play “Blue” explores the complexities of coming-of-age
The captivating play “Blue” delves into the complexities of a coming-of-age narrative, exploring themes of family dynamics, masc...
Rhiannon Clarke 20 Feb 2024
Northern Territory grants open doors for artists
Grants are currently being offered in the Northern Territory to fund the purchase, transportation, and installation of equipment...
Rhiannon Clarke 19 Feb 2024
New Palawa art experience in Hobart
Esteemed Palawa Indigenous artist Allan Mansell will be sharing his sustainable printing methods with guests at Hobart’s Henry J...
Dianne Bortoletto 18 Feb 2024

   Phoebe Blogg   

First Nations artist Amanda Hinklemann collaborates with popular swimwear brand, Baiia
Described as a wearable celebration of community, feminine resilience, and women’s innate ability to support and uplift one anot...
Phoebe Blogg 21 Feb 2024
Ikuntji Artists announced as 2024 National Designer Award finalist
Striving to celebrate Australia’s top-performing emerging designers, the National Designer Award is returning for yet another ye...
Phoebe Blogg 15 Feb 2024
Independent First Nations artists to shine at Cairns Indigenous Art Fair
In addition to their textile and design program BLOOM, the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) is also hosting their new CATAPULT...
Phoebe Blogg 14 Feb 2024
Annual NAIDOC Week poster competition opens to the public
The National NAIDOC committee has has announced the opening of its annual National NAIDOC Week Poster Competition. The 2024 the...
Phoebe Blogg 14 Feb 2024