Image: Collaborative fashion collection, Arrwekwetye Mob - Women Mob, by Yarrenyty Altere and Tangentyere Artists at 2019 Desert Mob Symposium. Photo by James Henry, Desart.

Symposium 2020

Eleven stories, five art centres, seven days…

4–11 September

This year we are celebrating our art centres achievements and stories online!

The program is being presented as a series of short films released daily, which you can enjoy here and on our social channels over seven days.

Be transported by the stories, powerful projects and everyday lives of these featured artists and art centres, providing a glimpse into the diversity of Aboriginal storytelling and contemporary artistic practice across our regions.

Download Desert Mob Symposium program 2020

Welcome by  Desart CEO Philip Watkins

Hermannsburg Potters

Meet the senior ladies of Hermannsburg Potters. The Hermannsburg Potters are based in Western Aranda Country at Ntaria, they create vibrant handmade terracotta pots using hand coil and pinch technique  These unique artworks encompass collective and individually lived histories of the artists’ distinct country. The ladies were also members of  the Ntaria Ladies Choir, which also sings in the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir who, each year are invited to open the Desert Mob Exhibition and Symposium.  Sit back and enjoy a day of song and pots.

Marisa Maher, Iltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre

Marisa Maher is an emerging curator and assistant Manager of Iltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre, based in Mparntwe Alice Springs and supports the “Hermannsburg School” style of watercolour artists who continue to paint in the tradition of their grandfather and relative, the famous great Australian Aboriginal Artist of the 20th Century Albert Namatjira. Marisa Maher is without doubt one of the country’s most exciting emerging curators this is her story.

Homeless on Our Homeland – Iltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre

Iltja Ntjarra Artists are currently showing in NIRIN – the 22nd Sydney Biennale with their exhibition Homeless on my Homeland.  Artists Selma Coulthard, Vanessa Inkamala, Clara Inkamala and Mervyn Rubuntja discuss this powerful exhibition. ltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre is based in Mparntwe Alice Springs and supports the “Hermannsburg School” style of watercolour artists who continue to paint in the tradition of their grandfather and relative, the famous great Australian Aboriginal Artist of the 20th Century Albert Namatjira.

Papunya Tjupi Arts Women’s Painting Stories

Papunya Tjupi Arts’ women artists are renowned for the quality of their work they are held in major national and international and private collections. Join senior artist Mona Gorey Nangala, Candy Nelson Nakamarra and artist and artworker Sharon Butcher Napanangka as they take us inside the women’s painting space at Papunya Tjupi Arts.

Papunya Tjupi Arts Men’s Painting Stories

The western desert art movement began in the 1970’s in the Aboriginal community of Papunya, it is here where senior men painted murals on the school walls and the now famous Papunya Boards, this started a truly Australian Art Movement. The recently built men’s painting room and the revival of men’s painting at Papunya Tjupi Arts is testament to the legacy of those old men. We hear from Traditional Owner and artist Bob Dixon, emerging artist Keanu Nelson and art worker Herman Corby Tjapaltjarri.

Papunya Tjupi Films

Tjupi Old Car Tjukurrpa

In November 2019 Papunya Tjupi Art Gallery presented their exhibition Tjupi Puli (Honey Ant Mountain). The name Tjupi Puli is an homage to the ancestral dreaming site that rests aside Papunya community sometimes referred to as Warumpi. The showpiece of the exhibition was the old painted Ford Falcon and the accompanying film. With the approval and supervision of Bob Dixon, traditional owner for Tjupi Puli and holder for the associated Tjukurrpa, Watson Corby led a project of painting a broken down Ford Falcon from the seventies that lay beside Tjupi Puli. Watson coordinated a medley of different works painted on the motorcar in an homage to the early painters of Papunya. Watson also directed the short film which can be seen here with colleague Bruce Inkamala behind the camera.

Carbiene McDonald

Carbiene McDonald was born in Papunya in 1961, son of Snowy McDonald and as a young man, he travelled back to his father’s homelands and inherited his Tjukurrpa (Dreaming). Carbiene lives at Black Water Outstation, just outside of Papunya Community. Having only taken up painting later in life in 2018, his passion for paint coupled with his extreme dedication and enthusiasm has led him to quickly make a name for himself. Cabiene’s work embodies quality of innovation within tradition, and his practice of filling the canvas with coloured squares of loose acrylic paint creates work of immense depth and sophistication. Winner of the prestigious Hadley’s Art Prize (2019), finalist in the Vincent Lingiari Art Award (2019) his work is held in Art Gallery of NSW Collection, Charles Darwin University Collection and in private collections in Australia. Carbiene’s work is currently on show at RAFT artspace, Alice Springs, as part of his eagerly anticipated second solo show. Hear from the artist himself in this short film as he explains how his painting career brings him happiness and the pride he feels for all the young men in Papunya who paint alongside him at Papunya Tjupi Arts.

A Papunya Tjupi Film, Starring Carbiene McDonald, Camera & Edit Shane Mulcahy, Proudly supported by The Northern Territory Government.

Ikuntji Artists, Museum Stories

Artists, Walter Jugadai, Jeffery Zimran, Kelly Dixon and Keturah Zimran  and Art Centre Manager Dr. Chrischona Schmidt discuss the important work Ikuntji Artists have been engaged in with their Museum Project. The artists have been visiting national and international museum collections and identifying Luritja cultural objects with the aim to have those objects repatriated.  Ikuntji Artists are based at Haasts Blufff north west of Alice Springs and was one the first art centres in the Western Desert Art Movement to be established  by women.

Ikuntji Artists, Men’s Museum Story

Ikuntji Artists, Walter Jugadai and Jeffery Zimran recently travelled overseas as part of the Art Centre’s long term museum story. They visited collections  held in international museums, providing information and identifying objects from other language groups. Both are very clear about their desire to have these powerful Tjukurrpa objects returned to Australia.

Ikuntji Artists, Women’s Museum Story

Artist and Art worker Kelly Dixon and artist Keturah Zimran of Ikuntji Artists discuss the Museum project, where they have gone and viewed, identified and provided information about Luritja objects held in national and international collections. The Museum project holds mixed emotions for the artists as the artefacts have been made by their own people but are held in overseas collections.

Tennant Creek Brio

The Tennant Creek Brio are currently exhibiting in Nirin 22nd Biennale of Sydney. Brio is an Italian word meaning courage, or liveliness of style or performance, which describes this collective. Drawing on multiple influences from various traditional and contemporary cultural forms they have created a significant social and cultural voice reflecting the challenges of life in a frontier town, marred by the ongoing impacts of colonization and continual struggle to maintain cultural identity.   Some of the collective’s ‘found’ materials – such as disused metal, plan drawings from a nearby abandoned mine site, and disused poker machines – potently feed into the force of this commentary and outsider status.

The collective members are Fabian Brown, Jimmy Frank, Joseph Williams, Rupert Betheras, Marcus Camphoo, Simon Wilson, Lindsay Nelson, Clifford Thompson and Matthew Ladd.

Collective members, Jimmy Frank and Joseph Williams of Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre discuss art, politics and cultural identity.

The Desart Photography Prize

Join us as we announce the winner of the annual Desart Photography Prize, part of Desart’s Art Worker Program that delivers opportunity for the development of technical skills and experimentation with new media.  This year the Photography Prize will be exhibited online with prints available to purchase by email enquiry.

The Winner!

He couldn’t be here in person but thanks to PAW media at Yuendumu the winner of the Desart 2020 Photography Prize; Manjal Jampijinpa/Liam Alberts has been interviewed. Desart Congratulates all entrants and those who were highly commended; Joseph Williams, Kilyirri, Marla, Yimpili, Narra, Herman Corby, Tjilpi, Old Man, and Talitha Williams, Peace Out and of course Mangjal Jampijinpa the 2020 Desart Photography Prize winner.