The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation is a not-for-profit, Indigenous corporation. Its membership is made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Centres.
A FOUNDATION IS BORN
The inaugural Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair event was held in 2007, hosting sixteen Aboriginal-owned incorporated Art Centres. The event was originally founded by Apolline Kohen, former Director of Maningrida Art and Culture (MAC). MAC’s then Assistant Director, Claire Summers, managed the event, with a very humble budget, for its first two years of operation.
The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair’s value to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and wider community was immediately recognised. It is the only event of its kind that brings together Indigenous owned Art Centres from across Australia. It provides sales, marketing and professional development opportunities for Art Centres nationally.
Referred to as the “Art Basel of Australian Indigenous art” the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) is internationally recognised as the most prestigious national, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art fair.
The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation (DAAFF) is proud that its Art Centre representation at the fair has grown steadily over the years: from 16 in 2007 to forty-two in 2011, to a record 75 Art Centres in 2018! Significant growth in audience participation, sales generated, and funding support, has also been achieved. Every year there is overwhelming interest from Art Centres, with participation figures limited only by the Foundation’s financial capacity to provide a venue to accommodate enough exhibition booths!
In December 2008, a dedicated steering committee of stakeholder representatives was formed to govern the event, and the event management was outsourced. In 2009 and 2010 DAAF was managed with a memorandum of understanding with Top End Arts Marketing. In late 2010 the DAAF steering committee commissioned an organisational review. The aim of the review was to assess the potential directions for DAAF and how to foster a period of new growth, with strengthened governance, and expanded vision.
In 2011 the DAAF steering committee began to implement the recommendations of the organisational review, transitioning to an independent not-for-profit foundation governed by a board of nine (9) representatives with a minimum representation of three (3) Aboriginal board members. It was agreed that board positions would include: cultural leaders, Art Centre managers, peak body representatives and industry directors. Please click here to meet the DAAFF Board.
During this transitional year, a partnership with Darwin Regional Indigenous Advancement & Community Development Employment Program (DRIACDEP) was established to assist with opportunities for event delivery, Aboriginal employment and administration support. The event management firm @Production was contracted to manage the event, which included a new program of public forums, workshops and tours.
On the 12th December 2011, the new Board met in Darwin for the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation Limited (DAAFF) first directors meeting and the organisation was formalised. Dynamic consultations then took place to develop a 2012-2014 strategic plan. DAAFF submitted registration to ASIC in early 2012, with an initial forty-two (42) Art Centre members as well as the peak Art Centre associations ANKAAA (now known as ANKA) and Desart.
On the 2nd March 2012, the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation Limited was officially established, meaning that the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair was owned and operated by a membership of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Centres. The mission of the Foundation is to encourage the production of Aboriginal arts and assist with its promotion in an ethical business environment. It is committed to professional development opportunities for artists and arts workers, and to continually contribute to the cultural aspirations of the Art Centres.
Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation provides vibrant and exciting platforms for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture with a reputation for innovation, diversity and cultural integrity.
Our mission is to plan, promote and run an annual Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair and related activities that:
• Encourages the production of Aboriginal arts (including visual arts, dance, music, storytelling and culture);
• Encourages and assists with the promotion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art in an ethical environment;
• Encourages and assists with professional development opportunities and promotion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and arts workers in a broad range of artistic activities;
• Attracts financial support and economic benefits to support the promotion of Art Centres and their communities
• Contributes to the cultural aspirations of the Art Centres.
The Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation:
• Acknowledges and values the Larrakia people as Traditional Owners of the land;
• Values and respects Indigenous-owned Art Centres in their support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and cultural expressions;
• Values the diversity, integrity and expression of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and will support this through ethical best practice, education and promotional activity;
• Values the inclusion of diverse opinions and respectful communications;
• Values the history and significant achievements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art industry.