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Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair set to return for 18th year

Phoebe Blogg -

Renowned as one of the most anticipated events in the Indigenous community, the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair will be returning this year for its 18th iteration.

Set to take place from 6-11 August 2024, the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) Foundation's acclaimed suite of events strives to celebrate and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, design and culture.

Held alongside the Country to Couture runway (6 August ), National Indigenous Fashion Awards (7 August ), the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (8-11 August), will take place physically in Darwin as well as digitally online.

Inviting attendees to connect and engage with more than 70 Art Centres from across the most remote regions in Australia, DAAF is the largest event of its kind.

As a creative hub for art and culture enthusiasts, gallerists, adventurers, locals and international guests seeking a truly unique experience, DAAF is committed to giving back to the participating artists with 100 per cent of profits going back to artists and their communities.

DAAF Foundation's executive director Claire Summers said the event will showcase more than 1000 Indigenous artists and designers.

"The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair will ignite the Top End this August, allowing visitors to view the art of over 1,500 Indigenous artists and designers, with a genuine opportunity to hear directly from artists about our First Nations' cultures, storytelling and expression through art, fashion, and design," Ms Summers said.

"We feel privileged to provide this global stage. It's inspiring to witness the market growth and appreciation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and fashion since the Fair began 18 years ago.

Ms Summers said art fairs have a critical role to play in helping artists connect to both domestic and international markets.

"DAAF is unique in that it provides a space for artists to travel from their communities often for the first time, and meet buyers in a space that puts Indigenous agency and their culture at the forefront," she said.

Country to Couture 2023. (Image: Dylan Buckee)

To ensure the fair runs smoothly and to further aid to its lively atmosphere, DAAF has curated an engaging public program of events.

Offering visitors the chance to deeply engage and learn about artistic practice, cultural traditions, and contemporary design, the public program includes workshops led by artists, industry leaders and cultural groups hosting dance performances, artist talks, masterclasses, material demonstrations, children's activities, and more.

In more exciting news, the program will also welcome new fashion-focused panel discussions, workshops and spotlight talks.

The days leading up to the fair will see First Nations fashion take centre stage, with the iconic Country to Couture runways and National Indigenous Fashion Awards setting the scene for the week ahead.

"On the ground, visitors can partake in an array of unique experiences, including cultural workshops, live demonstrations, and enlightening discussions facilitated by industry leaders and innovators," Ms Summers said.

"We look forward to welcoming guests from across Australia and around the globe to Darwin to partake in the diverse offerings of DAAF.

"For those who are unable to make the trip to Darwin, but who are still looking to support First Nations artists and designers, they can buy directly from our Art Centres through our online version of the Fair that will run simultaneously alongside our in-person event."

DAAF Friday, Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair 2023. (Image: Tamati Smith)

Owned and governed by the 78 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art centres and peak bodies it represents, The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) Foundation is a not-for-profit, Indigenous organisation with a vision to provide vibrant and exciting platforms for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, design, and culture with a reputation for innovation, diversity and cultural integrity.

With the foundation's keystone event being the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, the infamous art fair has continued to get bigger and better each year, and 2024 is bound to be again no different.

The full DAAF Foundation program and tickets for their August events will be released by June 2024, and features the following events:

• Tuesday evening, 6 August | Country to Couture (2 different runway shows), Darwin Convention Centre

• Wednesday evening, 7 August | National Indigenous Fashion Awards, Deckchair Cinema Darwin

• Thursday evening, 8 August | Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Opening Ceremony, Darwin Convention Centre

• Friday - Sunday daily, 9-11 August | Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair & Public Program, Darwin Convention Centre

• Friday - Sunday, 9-11 August | DAAF Online

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