Australia’s largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visual art event opens

DAAF-Cassaria-Young-Hogan-Bush-Trip-2020-Acrylic-on-Canvas-91cm-x-61cm-courtesy-of-Ninuku-ArtsThe Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) opens today (Friday 6 August) via its cutting-edge digital platform, connecting audiences around the world with Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives.

Presented by Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation (DAAFF), now in its 15th year, the DAAF program will run from 6 – 11 August. The program features a highly anticipated digital art fair and an online Public Program that includes artist masterclasses and artists talks.

Earlier in the week, DAAFF showcased two First Nations fashion events: the annual National Indigenous Fashion Awards (NIFA); and the vibrant Country to Couture.

This year, 31 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and fashion designers were nominated for the National Indigenous Fashion Awards – with winners selected from six unique categories:

  • Cultural Adornment and Wearable Art Award: Paul McCann (Melbourne, VIC)
  • Fashion Design Award: Denni Francisco, Ngali(Melbourne, VIC)
  • Textile Design Award: Eunice NapanangkaJack, Ikuntji Artists(Haasts Bluff, NT)
  • Community Collaboration Award: Anindilyakwa Arts with Dr Aly de Groot and Anna Reynolds (Groote Eylandt, NT)
  • Environmental and Social Contribution Award: Mylene Holroyd of Pormpuraaw Art & Culture featuring Simone Arnol designs (Cairns/Pormpuraaw, QLD)
  • Special Recognition Award: Bima Wear (Tiwi Islands, NT)

Country to Couture is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander textiles and fashion design. Audiences were treated to vibrant garments that were showcased on a high-energy runway from Indigenous designers and artists, as well as unique collaborations between Indigenous communities and well-known Australian labels.

DAAF is internationally celebrated as a world-class program and pays homage to the world’s oldest living culture. It is the only event of its kind that connects artists, performers and Art Centres from some of Australia’s most remote regions with domestic and international audiences, eager to snap up stunning and authentic works.

DAAFF Executive Director, Claire Summers says the program generates significant flow-on benefits for Australia’s Indigenous communities, where 100 per cent of the sales from each artwork is returned to Art Centres, the artists and their communities.

“We are honoured to be able to profile over 70 Indigenous owned Art Centres and open up the rich storytelling, culture, and history behind these works of art,” said Ms Summers.

Commenting on the decision to pivot from a physical event to an online strategy, Ms Summers added “We’ve already had overwhelming interest in our Public Program, with many of the workshops at capacity. Last year we welcomed the largest global audience we have ever seen thanks to our digital offering.”

DAAF connects Indigenous and non-Indigenous art and culture audiences through its unique event to celebrate the vibrant heritage of Australian First Nations Peoples, providing an important meeting place for artists and designers to share stories and traditions through their chosen medium.

The 2021 Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair continues to 11 August. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Cassaria Young Hogan, Bush Trip, 2020, Acrylic on Canvas 91cm x 61cm – courtesy of Ninuku Arts