Artworks from the heart of Australian culture drew over 5,000 visitors to the Darwin Convention Centre when it hosted the 5th Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair August 12 -14 2011.
Nestled on the edge of Darwin harbour on the Larrakia people’s ancient place of connection, the Convention Centre was the ideal venue for 100 artists gathered in a vibrant showcase of Aboriginal art.
Over 40 Aboriginal owned community art centres from the Western Desert, the Kimberley, Arnhem Land, the Tiwi Islands, Top End and the Gulf country participated in the art event. In 2010 over $1m worth of artworks was sold, and hopes are high that sales figures for the 2011 event will match that. The result is testimony to the rich and prolific artistic output of the centres.
“As interest in Aboriginal art grows stronger each year, Darwin is fast becoming Australia’s leading art tourism destination,” said Malu Barrios, General Manager of Darwin Convention Centre.
“It’s a rare opportunity to bring such a rich diversity of works all under one roof – a unique cultural experience for enthusiasts who have come from all over Australia and the world,” she added.
It’s the second year in a row that the Centre has hosted a successful Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair.
“The Convention Centre is ideal for the art fair as it attracts both tourists and Darwin residents,” said Cathy Cummins, Chair of the Art Fair. “With all the other facilities close by it’s not hard to attract a diverse crowd ranging from families looking for a cultural experience to art collectors who come specifically to buy art,” she said.
This year’s Art Fair featured a new opportunity to interact with Aboriginal art. The program included demonstrations of pandanus weaving by Arnhem Land weavers as well as workshops in boab nut carving by artists from the East Kimberley and painting demonstrations by leading artists working in natural ochres. Daily public forums tackled tackled new directions and future trends in Aboriginal art.
The nationally recognised event has been lauded for generating significant income and providing marketing and professional development opportunities to participating centres and their members.