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Australia’s largest Indigenous visual art event embraces hybrid delivery mode

Australia’s largest Indigenous visual art event embraces hybrid delivery mode
June 21, 2021

Australia’s largest Indigenous visual art event hosted by the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation (DAAFF) is returning to the top end in August for its 15th year and is set to deliver combined showcase with physical and digital experiences.

Providing audiences with a vibrant and immersive opportunity to experience world renowned Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visual art, fashion and cultural experiences, the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair has announced its schedule for the upcoming August events.

DAAFF Executive Director, Claire Summers, said the online Fair experience in 2020 demonstrated how critical it is to have a strong online presence to reach and engage with broader audiences, while simultaneously highlighting the fundamental human need to connect with each other and share experiences and knowledge in a physical space.

Summers adds “In 2020 we learnt that an immersive online presence is crucial to unlocking new audiences globally. Whilst this was a huge success, we were reminded that connection with people and creating a meeting place, is at the heart of what we do. We have to find a balance in this new hybrid life we find ourselves operating in.

“Being agile and embracing the two modes of delivery was the natural next step for us. With travel restrictions and the risk of border closures still volatile, we see such value in providing an accessible format for audiences to engage with and to explore Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and design.”

Australia’s largest and most prestigious Indigenous art event is internationally celebrated as a world-class event. In 2020, the online DAAF attracted 1,335 artists from 69 Art Centres, right across the country, and a record attendance of 44,784 unique visitors with 72 percent stating that this was the first time they had visited the Fair. It also generated significant art sales of $2.6 million. Over the past six years, the Fair has generated more than $14 million for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art sector. The 2021 Fair will see more than 75 Art Centre come together in Darwin at the Darwin Convention Centre; the NIFA and Country to Couture will also be hosted at the same venue.

Commenting on the significance of Indigenous culture in the Northern Territory, Natasha Fyles, Northern Territory Government Minister for Major Events said the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation contributes important and valued events that gather communities together.

Minister Fyles notes “The Territory’s Aboriginal heritage is something we can all be proud of, and events like Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair provide an opportunity for us all to celebrate the ancient culture that shapes this land we call home.”

The program of events is set to run for seven days from 3rd-8th August 2021. It will comprise of: 

  • National Indigenous Fashion Awards (NIFA) – 3rd August 2021 
  • Country To Couture – 4th August 2021 
  • 15th Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) – 6th-8th August 2021 
  • DAAF Public Program – 6th-8th August 2021 
  • Cultural Keepers Program – 6th-8th August 

Building on the success of the Foundation’s digital fair in 2020, those who cannot attend Darwin this August will be able to tune into the online Fair which will be presented in late 2021. Keeping DAAF accessible to all, the digital iteration of the art Fair will give audiences the chance to purchase art directly from Art Centres through its digital platform.

Generating significant economic benefit for remote Indigenous communities (100% of profit going direct to artists and art centres), ensuring ethical promotion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts, and creating professional development opportunities for artists and Art Workers is at the forefront of what DAAFF stands for.

In the days prior to its prestigious art fair, two of its key Indigenous Fashion Projects (IFP) events, the National Indigenous Fashion Awards (NIFA) and Country to Couture showcase will take place. These events will be livestreamed via NITVs digital channels for a broader audience to tune in.

As the number one international Indigenous art fair, DAAFF is leading the charge in making the event a truly global one. Later in 2021, DAAF’s digital fair will offer international guests the opportunity to access the event, purchase art directly and fully immerse themselves in the experience virtually.

Tickets to the Fair and fashion events go on sale from 9am ACST via the Darwin Festival website here.

For more information about the 15th Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, Public Program and Cultural Keepers Program visit 

Register to attend DAAF and purchase tickets to the public program at

Images from top: DAAFF Aerial view of the 2019 Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Credit: Dylan Buckee; Cassandra Trevilyan Hayes of Mimi Aboriginal Art Craft at 2019 Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair. Credit: Dylan Buckee; Rita and Monica Watson at Ninuku Arts. Credit: Meg Hansen; and Bush dyeing at the beach, 2021. Credit: Anindilyakwa Arts;

Related Articles

12th October 2020 - New multi-artform project funded to map Pilbara’s Aboriginal art movement

27th May 2020 - Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair to be held as inaugural online event in 2020

20th October 2019 - Adelaide Indigenous Festival celebrates the work of more than 1000 artists

12th July 2019 - Cairns arts and culture thrives through Queensland Government investment

12th January 2019 - Traditional owners withdraw support for National Aboriginal Art Gallery in Alice Springs

21st June 2018 - Australian Government invests in digital labelling to combat fake Aboriginal art

26th March 2018 - Northern Territory Government picks Alice Springs site for new Indigenous museum

20th July 2016 - Cairns Indigenous Art Fair draws record crowd

28th August 2015 - Australia Council report explains ways for Australian audiences to experience more Indigenous art

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