Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation (DAAF)

Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation Limited has been recognised for Outstanding Achievement in The Australian Charity Awards 2023. The Australian Charity Award for Outstanding Achievement [OAA] recognises charitable organisations that have achieved outstanding results through initiatives that have significantly benefited charitable causes.

Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation (DAAF Foundation) is a not-for-profit Indigenous organisation, owned and governed by the 83 Indigenous Art Centres and peak bodies we represent. These Art Centres are the beating hearts of their communities, and of our DAAF Foundation’s events and programs. Together, we celebrate the rich cultural and artistic diversity of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, providing vibrant and exciting platforms for art, design, and culture.

Our board, and small but dedicated team of staff are incredibly proud to be recognised for the Outstanding Achievement Award [OAA] in The Australian Charity Awards 2023. We share this recognition with our Art Centre members, along with our growing community of volunteers and supporters, who have all been a part of the DAAF Foundation’s journey, and who continue to make our events possible each year!

Claire Summers, Executive Director, Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) Foundation

The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation (DAAF) acknowledges the value, diversity and integrity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visual art, craft, design, music and performance as an integral expression of Australian culture. They respect the work of remote community Art Centres and their support of the richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) cultural aspirations and expressions. They are a national, not-for-profit organisation with a membership of 77 community Indigenous Art Centres and peak bodies. Collectively they represent thousands of artists.

DAAF’s signature event is the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (occurring annually in August), affectionately known as DAAF. DAAF is the only national event of its kind and has secured a reputation as one of the country’s most significant and internationally recognised arts events/programs. The Fair also provides visitors with a genuine opportunity to meet Indigenous artists, performers, and Arts Workers from some of the most remote regions of Australia.

In a historic first, DAAF 2022 presented a hybrid event. Held across four days, from 5-7 August 2022, with an Opening Ceremony event on 4 August, DAAF returned to the Darwin Convention Centre on Larrakia Country and went online. The event brought together artists and art lovers from across the globe in a shared passion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.

The results were staggering, setting new in-person attendance records and sales figures, with all proceeds going back to the Art centres and Artists. The hybrid event attracted over 34000 visitors, approximately 1800 artists showcased 8350 unique artworks across both platforms and 185 Indigenous Arts Workers participated. $4.33 million of sales were generated by the hybrid event. As DAAF takes no commission, 100% of the sales went directly back to the Art Centres. This enormously affects each community, its economy, the artist’s profile, and the artwork’s value. It ensures the artists have the funds to create new work and share thousands of years of knowledge and storytelling from the oldest living culture on earth.

The exciting return of the DAAF Public Program to the Convention Centre saw 7 x sold out Masterclasses presented, with the full 104 tickets snapped up early by an eager public. 2 x Artist Demonstrations (a new offering for 2022), 4 x Cultural Performances by x 3 different dance groups, 2 x children’s activity and education stations on offer (the activity stations operated daily and offered 15 sessions throughout the weekend), which saw visitation of 200 children, plus 2 x book launches/presentations.

The physical art fair and public programs attracting more than 17,000 local, interstate and international visitors had a significant $12.3 million impact on the NT economy. The online component built on the success of the 2020- 21 digital pivot, creating even more ways for Art Centres and artists to take part. This also enabled anyone, anywhere, to ethically purchase artwork directly from Indigenous-owned Art Centres across Australia and learn more about the people and communities they are from. The online platform was further developed from the 2021 iteration by the DAAFF team, with guidance from the Board and Art Centre Members, which enhanced the Foundation’s offerings with an innovative hybrid Fair accompanied by a vibrant public program and series of fashion events. The Foundation’s hybrid innovation and digital agility ensured continued promotional and sales growth for Indigenous artists and Art Centres.

DAAF and its extended programs highlight the art and fashion world’s calendar year for thousands of people. These programs are uniquely Australian, celebrating the connection between all communities; experiencing them is exhilarating, with a vibrant energy that leaves audiences with goosebumps. Ultimately these programs give a glimpse into how important art centres are for remote communities, and these initiatives are changing people’s lives and sharing over 65000 years of knowledge and culture.

To find out more about Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation, visit daaf.com.au

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