Desert Mob returns to the Araluen Arts Centre


In a boost for the Central Australian arts and tourism industry, the Territory Labor Government, Araluen Arts Centre and Desart will present Desert Mob 2017, one of the nation’s most exciting Aboriginal art and cultural events.

Minister for Tourism and Culture Lauren Moss, said that over 5,000 people visited the Araluen  Arts Centre over the opening weekend of last year’s Desert Mob and large attendance figures are expected at this year’s event.

“Through the Araluen Arts Centre, the NT Government continues to invest in the arts and tourism industry of Central Australia,” Minister Moss said.

Desert Mob is a nationally significant annual survey of art by emerging and established Aboriginal artists from desert art centres across the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia.

Desert Mob has established itself as one of Australia’s premier Aboriginal art events, and is the only event wholly dedicated to celebrating the artists and art centres from across Central Australia.”

Member for Namatjira Chancey Paech said Desert Mob, is a key Alice Springs event that is now in its 27th year.

“Desert Mob continues a tradition of revealing and celebrating the vast cultural, linguistic and geographical diversity of Aboriginal artists”, he said

“I am looking forward to viewing art from across the central and southern NT, including: several Alice Springs-based art centres; the APY Lands of South Australia; as far south as the Great Victoria Desert; west to the Gibson Desert; north to the southern Kimberley region of Western Australia.”

Director of the Araluen Cultural Precinct, Dr Mark Crees said “Desert Mob provides Aboriginal artists with personal agency and market exposure and provides an engine for economic stimulation for the contemporary Aboriginal art movement, especially for remote Aboriginal art centres.”

“Desert Mob 2017 will span across three galleries and present 260 new works by hundreds of artists from 30 Desart-member art centres. The opening weekend of the festival will feature three days of events, including the official exhibition opening, a symposium of presentations and a very affordable art market. It’s a very exciting program.

“One of the highlights of the Desert Mob opening weekend is the Desert Mob MarketPlace. Many art centres will be represented, offering high quality artworks at the affordable price of $500 or less. Last year art lovers were lined up for an hour prior to the event to ensure they picked up the best bargains.”

Desart CEO Philip Watkins said “Desert Mob is unique among Aboriginal art exhibitions: artists and their art centres select the artworks to be exhibited, rather than through a pre-selection process and we are thrilled to be presenting this event with the Araluen Arts Centre to provide the opportunity to learn about and celebrate the artists and art centres of Desert Mob.”

Desert Mob 2017 will officially open at 5:30pm Thursday 7 September and will run until 22 October.

Find out more at

Attached images:

  • Wawiriya Burton, Ngayuku Ngura (My Country), 2016. Araluen Art Collection. Acquired from Desert Mob 2016.

  • Desert Mob 2016 exhibition opening. Tjanpi Desert Weavers collaborative work, Early Days Family, 2017 (foreground) and Vincent Namatjira, Seven Leaders, 2017, Iwantja Arts (at rear). Photo by Lisa Hatzimihail Photography.

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