Record crowds, record sales at Desert Mob 2022: media release

Desert Mob 2022 Curators, Hetti Perkins (l) and Marissa Maher in (r) in front of works by Tangentyere Artists, Desert Mob 2022.

Desert Mob 2022 launched last night to a record crowd of over 1,000 attendees at the Desart presented Exhibition held at the Araluen Art Centre in Mparntwe | Alice Springs.

In a short period of 90 minutes, 93 artworks from the 232 exhibited were sold resulting in over $200,000 in sales. The exhibition features works from 32 art centres and 227 artists.

Desart CEO Philip Watkins said, “this is an outstanding response and on behalf of the Desart Executive we thank all those that attended the opening last night”.

The Exhibition will also go online today (Friday 9th at 10am CST at and for the first time, Desart has partnered with Art Money to offer interest-free payment plan options.  “This is to provide options for younger buyers and collectors of Aboriginal Art,” Watkins said.

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” he 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.

Marisa Maher said, “This has been the highlight for me this year, being able to co-curate an exhibition of this scale”.

Desert Mob, showcases one of the most significant art movements, one of vast distances of country and kinship, forming a vibrant statement of what’s happening in the Desart membership right now. The celebration is an important gathering for artists, families and visitors each year, and one of cultural exchange and sharing.

From September 1 – 7 Desart is presenting Art Centres On Screen; a powerful collection of story-telling direct from the desert with artists sharing their personal histories, art, and community. This year animations made by art centres will also be screened via the desart website and social media channels.

The Desert Mob MarketPlace on September 10 is a large affordable buzzing art market, bringing together paintings, punu, ceramics, Tjanpi weaving, sculpture, clothing, jewellery, textiles, and homewares from Aboriginal-owned art centres across Central Australia. Running alongside the MarketPlace is an engaging free workshop program offering visitors a space to chat with the artists and learn about Aboriginal culture.

Buying work at the Desert Mob Exhibition and Marketplace ensures the ethical purchasing of art with all income going to art centres.

Desert Mob 2022 is an unmissable opportunity to experience and share in the world’s richest living culture’s art, stories, and vitality.

Desert Mob program:

Exhibition opening | Thursday 8 September | 5:30 – 8pm | Araluen Arts Centre

·        Exhibition Opening by Papunya Tula Artists Director and PTA shareholder Bobby West Tjupurrula.

·        Welcome to Country by Aunty Elaine Peckham

·        Aboriginal Women’s Choir performs

·        Tinkerbee Dancers perform

·        Opening speeches

·        Galleries open 6pm

 Artist and curator talks | Friday 9 September | Araluen Arts Centre

·        10am Ngurra, Walytja, Kuunyi (Country, Family Compassion) Director Bobby West Tjupurrula (and PTA shareholder) and Purple House CEO Sarah Brown AM in conversation.

·        11am Curators walk through the gallery Hetti Perkins and Marisa Maher.

·        1pm Tjanpi Desert Weavers – Kala Purtinguru (Colours from the bush) Tjanpi Desert Weavers discuss their bush dying process.

Desert Mob MarketPlace | Saturday 10 September | 10am – 2pm | Double Tree by Hilton, 82 Barrett Drive

Affordable art, homewares and clothing from 30 art centres from across the Desart membership!

Including free workshops

·        10 – 11am Ikuntji gumnut painting workshop

·        11- 2pm Tjanpi Desert Weavers weaving workshop

·        Midday – 2pm Bush medicine healing workshop with Akelyurre Healing Centre.

Note to editors

This year marks two major events in Aboriginal Art and Politics

50 years since the men of the Papunya art movement established one of the first Aboriginal-owned and directed arts companies, dedicated to the production of works for a commercial market. Papunya Tula Artists led to the development of remote art centres and emergence of Aboriginal artists and art centres in Central Australia.

To mark this important anniversary and to celebrate the works and stories shifting over generations, this striking linear work featured above by George Tjungurrayi of Papunya Tula Artists is representing Desert Mob 2022

For media interviews and more information contact: Carmel Young, Desert Mob producer 0411 534 913