Tuesday, 18 June 2019 Sydney

Desert Mob smashes all records and looks to nudge $1M in sales::

Desert Mob 2017 has recorded its highest sales records in its 27-year history, with more than $420,000 in exhibition sales achieved as of the end of September, and an estimated $500,000 worth of additional sales at the ever-popular Desert Mob MarketPlace during the opening weekend.

With three weeks still to go, Desert Mob 2017 is tipped to reach an unprecedented result of close to $1 million in total sales. Exhibition sales have eclipsed the previous records at the height of the contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art market a decade ago. This year’s MarketPlace sales also outstripped last year’s record.

Araluen Cultural Precinct Director Dr Mark Crees said that more than 6,000 people flocked to the cultural precinct in Alice Springs for the opening weekend, which included the Desert Mob Exhibition, the Desart-run all-day artist Symposium, and the opening of Desert Mob MarketPlace art fair.

“This resounding success demonstrates the vitality of contemporary Aboriginal art from the Central Australian region, encompassing vast areas of Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

“This year we welcomed 30 remote Aboriginal art centres and showcased 236 artists in the exhibition with 260 remarkable works of art spread-out across three of our galleries.”

Desert Mob was first envisaged by Araluen Arts Centre in 1991 to meet three broad aims: to promote and increase audiences for Aboriginal artists and their art centres from Central Australia; to stimulate the art market for Central Australian Aboriginal art; and to place artists and art centres in the spotlight.  In the mid-2000s Araluen partnered with Desart to further develop the event to include a symposium and art fair, a partnership that has blossomed in recent years as this year’s success indicates.

“Desert Mob continues to cement its place as a major economic driver for Aboriginal art, drawing thousands of visitors and collectors to Alice Springs for an event that is truly unlike any other. Hundreds of Aboriginal artists are present across the opening weekend and are very much placed in the spotlight, ensuring that the artists themselves are given agency and voice,” Dr Crees said.

Desert Mob Is the most important gauge of what is taking place in the contemporary Aboriginal art movement from Central Australia and the surrounding regions, presenting exceptional works of art that clearly demonstrate the strength of the movement in the very region in which the movement was born.

The Desert Mob exhibition runs until 22 October at the Araluen Arts Centre, one of the Territory’s key cultural institutions that form part of the Araluen Cultural Precinct in Alice Springs. All 260 works will remain on display until the end of the exhibition with over 100 works still available for sale.

The dates for next year’s opening weekend event have been set as Thursday 6 – Saturday 8 September, 2018.

For further information, see: http://www.desertmob.nt.gov.au