The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) achieved a record $4.33 million in art sales, an increase of nearly 30% from 2021 and the highest in the event’s history.
New data released today (22 November) shows the Fair attracted over 33,353 in-person and online visitors, making it the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation’s most successful Top End event, while also bringing it to an international audience.
DAAF Foundation Executive Director Claire Summers said the achievement was the result of hosting a first-time hybrid event and COVID eLearnings.
“We hosted the last two fairs online during COVID-19 and applied our key learnings from that experience to provide new opportunities and greater awareness for participating artists, art centers and the public,” Summers said.
She added, “The introduction of a hybrid model has also allowed us to showcase our largest programming yet, with 77 participating arts centers and over 1,800 First Nations artists. The DAAF welcomed over 17,000 visitors to the exhibition in person, and a further 16,279 unique visitors online, from across Australia and around the world.
DAAF was presented as a large-scale exhibition at the Darwin Convention Center and as a digital platform.
Incoming data also estimated that the fair provided a $12.5 million boost to the Northern Territory economy with the return of the physical event.
The Northern Territory Government Minister for Major Events, The Honorable Paul Kirby, said: ‘The Territory is known for its dynamic attitude, and the DAAF has demonstrated this by adapting to external factors.’ The result was an even bigger and better event that can continue to benefit the territory for years to come.
Impact of roots on the ground
All proceeds from DAAF go to Indigenous communities and arts centers. Over the past eight years (2015-2022), the DAAF has generated over $21.71 million for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art sector, and has become a preferred medium for arts centres. art of creating the profiles of new talents.
Ngukurr Art Center Director Jude Emmett said they doubled sales this year – their best year yet, thanks to the Foundation’s hybrid mode.
“After a two-year hiatus, it was important for our team to physically attend DAAF and reunite with members of the industry, collaborate with other creatives, and present and witness works by established and emerging First Nations talent,” Emmett said.
“By embracing the new digital and physical format, we had our best year in 10 years of participation in DAAF,” he added.
He also pointed out that presenting their artists’ works online has allowed the art center to tap into a larger network of people and expand its audience and clientele.
The 17th Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair will return to Darwin and continue its successful new hybrid model with an online component from August 11-13, 2023.