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DAAF Goes Global

2023 was huge for the incredible Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) team, which saw record art sales for the Art Fair in August, some well-deserved accolades and a whirlwind trip overseas. Off The Leash was eager to hear about their big trip abroad and asked Executive Director Claire Summers to tell us all about it!

DAAF Goes GlobalLondon, Paris, New York, a bit of Singapore, Washington DC, Charlottesville and Toronto. Over 40 meetings, zero bedbugs, seven art fairs, 3941 pigeons, five baguettes (okay, maybe eight), a New York City hotdog, a Broadway production, and many new friends, supporters and partners. All in 21 days.

The short but sweet trip that we affectionately named There and Back Again - A Hobbit’s Tale, included myself, Artist Director Shilo McNamee, and General Manager Sammy Perry. Three DAAF-ettes wandering out into the big wide and daunting world of art buyers, aficionados and the ever prevalent bored/resting rich face.

We met with polite government diplomats, enthusiastic PR and tourism agencies, and chatty curators. We were fleeced by Paris taxi drivers, picked on by London pickpockets – thankfully outfoxed by Sammy! – and suffered the bitter disappointment of not seeing a single celebrity in NYC.

We loved the familiar sites of London and the charming Uber drivers – you rocked, Mohammed! We loved the romance and the patisseries of Paris, the phallic buildings of Washington DC, and the concrete jungle of New York City.

DAAF's Shilo, Sammy and ClaireWe knew well before we left that we ran some pretty special events and programs here in the NT. If anything, the trip cemented in our minds how incredible our work is. Our wise and wonderful Shilo McNamee sums it up so eloquently.

“The art exhibited at the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair is absolutely world class – it competes with the best in the world! 

We will be applying what we have learnt from our trip in terms of enhancing our exhibition build and buyer experiences, but our key learning is that our event is incredibly unique in the way we showcase the art, stories and culture of our artists.”

We are proud to offer the world an art fair that has heart and warmth – not just white walls, poker faces and artworks without price tags. We’ll continue to celebrate the Northern Territory and Australia’s First Nations creatives – there is nothing better anywhere on earth.


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