Indigenous Film Festival to be held with Darwin’s Deckchair Cinema

05 May, 2016 by Staff Writer

Darwin's Deckchair cinema.


Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair is set to showcase the evolving film scene in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities with a special Indigenous film festival held in conjunction with Darwin’s Deckchair Cinema. 

Kicking off with a special fundraising evening, the film festival will explore short films and emerging pieces of multi-media produced by Art Centres across the Territory and co-produced with the Darwin Film Society.

After raising more than $8.5 million for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities over the past nine years and showcasing the work of thousands of remote artists, the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair

(DAAF) will celebrate also its 10th birthday this year by doubling in size to encompass fashion, film and a panel discussion.

The annual event, running from Friday August 5-7 was created as a platform to promote the art work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Centres and communicate the important economic role they play in generating revenue into remote communities.

Molly Miller and Dallas Smyth from Warakuna WA with their Tjanpi works.  Photo: Rhett Hammerton

In 2015, the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair raised $1.75 million with 100 per cent of the revenue returning to remote communities, and over 10 years, the event has grown steadily to showcase the art works of more than 2000 artists, with thousands of pieces of art available to buy.

This year DAAF will marry Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contemporary fine art with textile design and take it to the catwalk, launching the Fair’s first fashion runway show.

The “DAAF Runway Project” will involve up to 15 Art Centres and designers. DAAF has engaged Northern Territory fashion guru Mehali Tsangaris, Director of NT Fashion Week, to choreograph the event.

Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation (DAAFF) chair Franchesca Cubillo said in 10 years the Fair had become a cultural beacon by which to experience Indigenous culture in a truly authentic and genuine manner, with hundreds of artists travelling to Darwin to interact personally with buyers.

“We started from humble beginnings in 2007 with 16 Art Centres and have grown significantly to represent more than 50 Art Centres," she said. 

"Starting this Fair was about showcasing the diversity and quality of artwork and demonstrating how valuable Indigenous art and artistic storytelling is.

“This year we’re giving visitors more exposure to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art through a range of traditional and new art forms, showcasing an impressive collection from over 60 Art Centres and ensuring their work is being seen across the nation.”

Fiona Cooper in a Merrepen Arts dress. Photo: John Tsialos

A panel discussion, held at the Darwin Convention Centre, will discuss modern ideas and issues surrounding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. 

DAAFF Executive director Claire Summers said this year’s event was expected set a record for attendance and sales, with the event becoming a fixture on the art calendar nationally and internationally.

“Our Art Centres are evolving with people’s needs, wants and desires to see more art across different mediums and styles, and we’ve progressed an incredible movement that will bring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art to more people across different industries of fashion and film,” she said.

“More than 9,500 people attended in 2015, with an increased presence of international visitors traveling to Darwin to snap up items created by the oldest living culture in the world.”

In 2015, more than $1.75 million in sales was generated over one weekend, an increase in revenue of 19 per cent on the year prior, with all money generated going back into Aboriginal And Torres Stait Islander communities across Australia.