Desert Mob Exhibition opening weekend and MarketPlace surpasses all expectations: media release

Tinkerbee Dancers at the 2022 Desert Mob opening. Photo by Oliver Eclipse, Desart

Desert Mob 2022

Desert Mob 2022 has been an unparalleled success for its first-time presenting body Desart, the peak organisation for 38 remote Aboriginal Art and Craft Centres in the Central and Western Desert Regions.

The successes of opening night (Thursday 8th September) saw 93 artworks from the 232 exhibited, sold in 90 minutes. By midday Sunday, Exhibition sales had reached 50% ($377,000) of the total value of the show ($750,000).

Desart CEO Philip Watkins said, “this is an outstanding response and on behalf of the Desart Executive we thank all those who attended over the weekend at Araluen and the MarketPlace”.

The Exhibition went online the following day and for the first time, Desart partnered with Art Money to offer interest-free payment plan options.  “This is to provide affordable options for younger buyers and collectors of Aboriginal Art,” Watkins said.

The MarketPlace which, due to predicted bad weather, was moved indoors saw over 3,000 people attend over the four hours and while final figures aren’t in, anecdotally art centre managers reported they had the best sales ever at the marketplace.

One art centre sold $70,000 worth of work, another $45,000, while another took $37,000 (which was more than they sold in 4 days at another recent industry art fair) one of Desert Mob’s first-time members took $15,000 in sales. These are all income-generating opportunities for the artists, with the economic flow on throughout their communities and the wider central Australian economy. These are truly inspiring figures and auger well for the future of Desert Mob under the management of Desart.

The event previously managed by the Araluen Arts Centre (NT Government) has been transferred to the Aboriginal peak body for Central Australian Art Centres, Desart Inc.  “These outstanding initial results are evidence of the intrinsic value Aboriginal-led organisations bring to the management of their own culture, we’ve also introduced a public program of artists talks and workshops this year” Watkins said.

For the first time in the 31- year history of the event, the exhibition has been curated by two Aboriginal women. Arrernte and Kalkadoon woman and internationally acclaimed curator Hetti Perkins and Marisa Maher a Western Aranda woman who has worked on significant national exhibitions for her art centre Iltja Ntjara Many Hands here in Mpartnwe.

For further information and all media enquiries

Desert Mob Producer Carmel Young 0411534913