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Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair is where we’d rather be

Words by Maeve Kerr-Crowley

From country to couture.

The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair is a platform for Indigenous artists to promote their work and culture in a supportive, ethical environment. Starting this week, the fair features runways, exhibitions, workshops, awards and a variety of cultural demonstrations.

You can find the full program here.

But to help you out, we’ve rounded up some events we think are particularly worth checking out.

While a lot of these events are free to attend, donations are welcome to keep the festival’s important work going.

Fashion

One of the main events of the fair is the annual From Country to Couture fashion showcase, which will take place on Wednesday August 7. Celebrating the successful and talented textile designs coming out of remote Indigenous communities, this year’s festival includes two runway shows. The first revolves around Gorman’s collaboration with the Mangkaja Arts Centre, with 40 looks featuring art from five senior Indigenous artists. The second show presents 10 boutique collections designed and created by a variety of remote community art centres. Tickets are available here.

Artist’s Talks

If you’re looking to learn something new, check out the program’s offering of free artist’s talks on Saturday August 10. As well as an in-depth look into the creation of the From Country to Couture runways, we’re particularly excited by the chance to hear about the Desert River Sea Project. Functioning as an online portal and a huge exhibition at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the project gathers art from the diverse communities in the Kimberley region, as well as providing training and development opportunities. 

Workshops and Demonstrations

A number of highly-skilled artists and makers will be holding interactive workshops and sharing their crafts over the course of the festival. To learn how to achieve the brightly-coloured painting style of the Yuendemu, Nyirripi and Warlukurlangu communities, head to the canvas painting workshop on Sunday August 11. Tickets for this session are available here. Other demonstrations include wood carving, jewellery making, hide shaving and children’s art workshops.

Cultural Performances

Five cultural dance groups from across Australia will be performing at the Convention Centre across the weekend. These include Mornington Island, Arpaka, Tiwi, Gija and Kawadji Wimpa dancers. All performances are free to attend. Find out when to catch each group here

Food Experiences

Get an insight into the making of traditional Indigenous food and native ingredients at two educational food experiences. Our pick is a savoury damper demonstration hosted by gallery, store and café, Aboriginal Bush Traders, on Sunday August 11. Tickets are available here.

The photos in the gallery were shot on location in Fitzroy Crossing. The Mangkaja x Gorman collaboration is available in store and online now.

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