A Look at Desert Mob 2008

Given that the University of North Carolina re-opens in late August, a trip to Desert Mob in September isn’t ever in the cards. Just can’t get away in September, no matter how alluring the tales we hear of the excitement in Alice each year. But thanks to our friends, to Desart, and to the Araluen Arts Centre, we had a better chance this year than ever before to experience the exhibition virtually. 

First of all, there’s the wonderful Desert Mob website. While the catalogs have always been a treasure and a treat, this year there’s an beautiful collection of 35 PDF files, each representing the submissions of an art centre to the exhibition. From Arlpwe Art and Culture Centre to Yarrenyty-Artlere, they’re all here. So while each year the show inspires Nicolas Rothwell to new heights of vivid and evocative prose (“Beauty from within,” The Australian, September 29, 2008), this collection of images now enhances his analysis of new trends in the visual translations of tradition collected annually in Alice Springs. Props to all involved in documenting the show this year and sharing it with the world!

Record sales and record crowds may mean that even those who weren’t there never saw the show in quite the way that it can be viewed in these images below, sent to me by Stephen Williamson, Araluen’s new Visual Collections Officer.

The Hermannsburg Potters must feel right at home in the Araluen Galleries

Ninuku Artists hang with Papunya Tula

WA’s Martumili Artists have become a major presence in exhibitions and awards in two brief years

Tjanpi Weavers form a centerpiece for the gallery space

Tjala Arts, formerly known as Minymaku, from Amata, SA brightened their palettes and the walls

The varieties of styles out of Warakurna Artists

Works from the Spinifex Art Project

Another view of the canvases from Martumili and Ninuku

And of course there’s the market as well. I’m indebted to Lisa McLaren of the new branch of the Honey Ant Gallery in Glebe, NSW, for a taste of what it’s like to be there in the crowd poring over the rest of the riches on offer.


First day sales of $315,000 set a new record

The Tjanpi Weavers have something for everyone

Oh, to be in Alice Springs in the springtime!

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