Your free what's on guide to the top end

Desert Mob

The Top End has the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair, but the Centre has Desert Mob, a three-day feast of desert art, featuring work from some of the most remote art centres in the country. 

The festival comprises three big events – the exhibition, a symposium and the marketplace, each bound to satisfy your visual, intellectual and retail needs.

Desart, the body representing 42 desert art centres, has a footprint that stretches across the Central Desert, the Barkly, North West, the APY Lands and Ngaanyatjarra West, each bringing a distinct and diverse range of artworks to the festival, from the Namatjira watercolours, to Tjanpi desert weavers.

Held at the Araluen Art Centre, the Desert Mob 2017 Exhibition is a massive showing of the top works from all art centres – chosen by them – and includes contemporary photography, weaving and carving.

The opening night is a special event, a mingling of artists who’ve travelled vast distances to make it there, Alice Springs locals and high-rollers on the lookout for collectible art.

The following day, the Symposium offers a unique opportunity to hear about contemporary Aboriginalart, projects happening around the region and Q&As with the artists.

“As always I’m looking forward to the presentations by the art centres on the projects they’ve been working on, and hearing their stories,” says Desart CEO Philip Watkins.

“There’s a project called Ngurra that the Western Desert art centres have been working on. It’s a big project and it will be presented at the Tarnanthi Festival in October.” 

On Sunday get your wallet ready for the frenzy that is the Desert Mob Marketplace. Every artwork is under five hundred dollars, and after queuing for the market to officially open, you’ll be in just the mood for some brilliant art shopping.

The Desart Photo Prize is also on display at their office in town, and will this year be judged by Hetti Perkins. 

See the event listing.

Share this