Prepare for a cultural awakening in the heart of Australia, as Mparntwe, also known as Alice Springs, prepares to host the 32nd edition of Desert Mob.
September 1st, 2023
The heart of Australia, Mparntwe, also known as Alice Springs, is preparing to host the 32nd edition of Desert Mob. This event is an important platform for Aboriginal cultural appreciation and artistic expression, organised by Desart, the primary body for Central Australian Aboriginal Art Centres.
Desert Mob runs from 7 September to 22 October 2023 at the Araluen Arts Centre. The program features a combination of exhibition, symposium, art market, public programmes and satellite events, forming a comprehensive festival experience that extends beyond a standard art exhibition.
There is also a number of design-related organisations involved in this year’s event including:
Desart’s CEO, Philip Watkins, highlights the significance of Desert Mob, stating, “For over three decades, Desert Mob has presented an exhibition of artworks selected by art centres to represent their communities.
“Desert Mob is a unique opportunity for locals and visitors to experience the rich diversity of our culture and celebrate in Mparntwe with artists from desert communities across Central Australia,” says Watkins.
The 2023 exhibition will be curated by Hetti Kemarr Perkins, of Arrernte and Kalkadoon heritage, and Aspen Nampin Beattie, who identifies with the Luritja, Warumungu and Yawuru communities. Both curators will present works by emerging and established artists, creating a diverse showcase of Aboriginal art. The exhibition comprises works selected by 34 art centres, spanning a geographic area of 1.221 million kilometres, and incorporating sixteen languages.
The symposium, returning since its last appearance in 2019, is scheduled for 8 September at the Araluen Arts Centre. It presents an opportunity to understand Aboriginal artists’ work and influences better. The symposium will offer presentations, interviews, films and performances, adding depth to the overall Desert Mob experience.
The Desert Mob Marketplace on 9 September will feature a selection of paintings, ceramics, punu, weaving, sculpture, textiles, clothing, jewellery, and homewares. This marketplace provides an opportunity for attendees to acquire works directly from artists.
The festival will host an expanded programme of public activities and satellite events. These events will be staged across the opening weekend and throughout the exhibition, offering more opportunities for attendees to engage with desert culture.
Presented by Desart, Desert Mob was established in 1991 by the Araluen Arts Centre and has since evolved from an exhibition of contemporary art from 13 art centres and collectives to a nationally renowned event.
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