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Down The Track - Desert Mob 2021

IT’S BEEN 30 years since the highly regarded Desert Mob began, all the way back in 1991. To celebrate, this year’s exhibition displays across all four galleries of the Araluen Arts Centre for the first time ever, showcasing not only the usual 240 plus artworks from 30 plus art centres spread across the Central Australian region, but a special retrospective of these 30 years through art.

By Zoya Godoroja-Prieckaerts

Every year since its inception, Araluen has acquired work from Desert Mob, building a remarkable collection of contemporary Indigenous art from the region over the decades. This retrospective features a curated body of work from the collection, with art from the 90s all the way through to today, helping us reflect on and acknowledge the incredible evolution of the movement through this annual event.

To accompany the show, an in-depth catalogue has been created, filled with stunning artworks and thoughtful words. As with the physical exhibition, the book features this year’s Desert Mob as well as the works in the retrospective.

Artists have been commissioned to contribute stories and reflections, while art centres share photographs of Country, artists and the centres themselves, giving us an insight into the origins and context of the work and, importantly, the voices of their makers.

As for the events surrounding the exhibition, enjoy in-the-flesh festivities. With so many events having to go online, there was a desire from art centres to have a physical opening and exhibition, as well as the much-loved Desert Mob Marketplace. For those lucky enough to be in town for the market, peruse a bountiful extravaganza of colour, mark, texture and chaos, where artists are praised and art-lovers are feverishly ecstatic, and everyone is wonderfully overwhelmed.

The opening night is of similar bounty – a beautiful celebration of the artists and their work, with speeches, live performances and the ceremonial frenzy of audiences whirling about the exhibition.

As is tradition, there’s a myriad of satellite events dotted around town over this first wild weekend, particularly of exhibition openings from art centres and galleries flaunting some of their best work of the year. With all of these, there’s no doubt this is prime time to be in Mparntwe/Alice Springs to enjoy 30 years of absolutely incredible art.


Desert Mob 30
WHEN FRI 10 SEP – SUN 24 OCT | OPENING FRI 10 SEP, 5PM MARKET PLACE SAT 11 SEP, 10AM-2PM
AT ARALUEN ART CENTRE
INFO araluenartscentre.nt.gov.au

Header: 2020 Desert Mob. Photo: Emma Murray
Thumbnail & inset: Carbiene McDonald Tjangala (Papunya Tjupi). Photo: Emma Murray

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