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Desert Mob is presented annually in Mparntwe/Alice Springs on Arrernte Country.  

Desert Mob brings together hundreds of artists to celebrate desert culture in the heart of Australia. Desert Mob features an exhibition, symposium and marketplace, as well as public programs and satellite events throughout Mparntwe and the region. From the opening night celebration to community studio visits and Desert Mob After Dark, art workshops and musical performances, Desert Mob is a cultural event for all the community.  

Established by the Araluen Arts Centre in 1991 as the ‘Central Australian Aboriginal Art and Craft Exhibition’, Desert Mob is now one of the longest running First Nations’ art events in Australia. The inaugural event included the work of artists from 14 art centres, and in 2024 it showcases 35 art centres. Many of the art centres that presented artworks in the first exhibition are also part of Desert Mob 2024. 

With the support of Desart and the exhibition at its heart, Desert Mob expanded over the years to include an arts marketplace, symposium and performance. Desert Mob is a tangible and public assertion of the principle of ‘Culture First’, expressed in the work of artists from the Desart art centre membership.



Desart is the Association of Central Australian Aboriginal Arts and Crafts Centres. 

Established in 1992, incorporated in 1993, we now count as our members 38 independently governed Aboriginal Art and Craft Centres representing 8000 artists. We are governed by a 6 member Aboriginal executive committee elected from the membership regions and currently employ seven staff, servicing a membership area of 1.221 million square kilometres. 

Desart grew out of the Association of Northern, Central and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists (now Arnhem, Northern and Kimberley Artists or ANKA) to represent the interests of Central Australian Aboriginal artists. Since this time, other peak regional agencies including Aboriginal Art Centre Hub Western Australia (AACHWA), Ku Arts (Aṉanguku Arts and Cultural Aboriginal Corporation) and Indigenous Art Centre Alliance (IACA) have formed, signalling the spread and success of the art centre model across Australia. Fundamental to the longevity of this model is First Nations governance. ‘Aboriginal control over Aboriginal art’ was identified as a key priority in the minutes of ANKA’s first meeting in 1987 and this core value is echoed in Desart’s mission statement of ‘Culture First’.

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Desart acknowledges and thanks the Northern Territory Government and the Araluen Arts Centre, Northern Territory Major Events Company, Arts NT, the Northern Territory Community Benefit Fund,Creative Australia, the Australian Government’s Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support and Visual Arts and Craft Strategy program, and The Ian Potter Foundation, for their support.

Desert Mob is presented annually in Mparntwe | Alice Springs on Arrernte Country.

On behalf of Desart’s staff and art centre members, the Executive Committee humbly and respectfully acknowledge the Arrernte Apmereke Artweye (Traditional Owners) and Kwertengerle (Traditional Managers) of Mparntwe.


Desart respectfully advises Aboriginal readers that this website may contain names, images and artworks of people who have passed away.