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Desert Mob returns to Alice Springs this September 


Desart, the primary body for Central Australian Aboriginal Art Centres, confirmed Desert Mob will return to Alice Springs (Mparntwe) from Thursday 7 September until Sunday 22 October. 

Patrons can expect a vibrant and heartfelt statement of contemporary cultural expression at this year’s Desert Mob exhibition, co-curated by Hetti Kemarr Perkins (Arrernte and Kalkadoon) and Aspen Nampin Beattie (Luritja, Warumungu and Yawuru).

This year’s Desert Mob exhibition is proudly celebrating the second year of First Nations ownership – Desart assumed management in 2022 – by displaying hundreds of new works by upcoming and esteemed artists across 34 art centres.

Desart was established in 1992 as the association of Central Australian Aboriginal Art Centres. The association now oversees 38 independently governed First Nations art centres, and represents 8000 artists. 

Participating art centres for the 2023 Desert Mob exhibition include Bindi Mwerre Anthurre Artists (Mparntwe, Alice Springs) Greenbush Art Group (Mparntwe) Iwantja Arts – Iwantja (Indulkana, South Australia) Martumili Artists – Parnpajinya (Newman, Western Australia), and many more. The exhibition unites communities from a geographic area spanning 1.221 million kilometres and sixteen different languages.

The exhibition will kick off on Thursday 7 September at the Araluen Arts Centre in Mparntwe by inviting patrons to immerse themselves in the art and stories of the world’s oldest living culture. 

Desert CEO Philip Watkins is excited to once again present a beloved event that sees art centres display works that truthfully and meaningfully 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 event will relaunch the Desert Mob symposium on Friday 8 September for the first time since 2019. The cherished symposium offers patrons the chance to hear First Nations artists discuss projects, family and Country, through performances, films, interviews and presentations.

The Desert Mob marketplace is set to be another audience favourite on Saturday 9 September. Paintings, ceramics, punu, weaving, clothing and homewares from First Nations-owned centres across Central Australia will be on sale. The market will also feature workshops, performances and food stalls. 

Since forming in 1991 at the Araluen Arts Centre, Desert Mob has presented thousands of artworks and cultural projects, and earned deep respect and appreciation as a nationally renowned event.

Desert Mob 2023 features ticketed events, with sales to be announced. The exhibition will be held at Araluen Arts Centre from 10am to 4pm daily. Entry is free over the opening weekend.

Featured Image by Emma Murray: Artist Rhonda Sharpe, with her work, as part of the installation of soft sculptures by Yarrenyty Arltere Artists, Desert Mob 2021 

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