Desert Mob Announces Full 2023 Program

Desart, the peak body for Central Australian Aboriginal Art Centres, has announced the full program for Desert Mob 2023 at Araluen Arts Centre in Mparntwe/Alice Springs from Thursday 7 September – Sunday 22 October, 2023.

This year’s Desert Mob exhibition features a record number of contemporary works, with an opening event program that includes a symposium, marketplace, workshops, demonstrations, performances and satellite events over the opening days.

On Thursday 7 September, Desert Mob will kick off with an official opening at the Araluen Arts Centre precinct and galleries with hundreds of emerging and established artists gathering for an exhibition preview and to celebrate their work. The opening event will feature dance performances, music and the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir, and offers an opportunity to meet artists and view and purchase works.

The 35 community Art Centres represented in Desert Mob 2023 are from a geographic area that spans 1.221 million kilometres and sixteen language groups. Visitors to Mparntwe for Desert Mob will share the richness and diversity of desert art and experience the myriad contemporary expressions of an enduring culture.

Friday 8 September will see the return of the Desert Mob Symposium at the Araluen Arts Centre Theatre – for the first time since 2019 – presenting a forum for audiences to interact with and hear first-hand from Aboriginal artists about their work, new projects, and the inspiration of family and country. A day of presentations by art centres and special guests, this year’s inimitable symposium will offer rich context to Desert Mob through panel discussions, interviews, film, and performance.

Tickets are on sale now for the Desert Mob Symposium and the program includes a behind-the-scenes look at the Milpa digital project, Ntaria Clay – past and present from Hermannsburg Potters, Ngurra Kutjuwarra (on Country together) from Warlayirti Artists sharing the healing power of connecting to country, award-winning short films from Tjanpi Desert Weavers and others, with fashion premiers by Yarrenyty Arltere Artists and Ewyenper Atwatye x Magpie Goose.

On Saturday 9 September, the Araluen Arts Centre Precinct will come alive with Desert Mob’s Marketplace featuring over 30 Art Centre stalls with paintings, ceramics, punu, weaving, sculpture, textiles and clothing from across Central Australia. The marketplace offers Desert Mob attendees the opportunity to acquire works directly from the artists that created them.

A number of free activities will take place across the Marketplace, including:

  • Artists of Ernabella Arts demonstrating sgraffito techniques to depict their Tjukurpa (story) and connection to Country and culture. Audiences will have an opportunity to talk to the artists while they are working to hear their stories and explain their techniques.
  • A soft sculpture workshop with Yarrenyty Arltere Artists, where participants are welcome to create birds and other shapes from the natural environment with the acclaimed Yarrenyty Arltere Artists who live and work in Mparntwe/Alice Springs and sew with creativity and joy in Country.
  • Pop-up Arrernte language classes with Kumalie Riley.

On Sunday 10 September, visitors will have the extraordinary opportunity to venture to the Hermannsburg Potters Art Centre in Ntaria, meet the artists in person and view the studios. The tour bus will travel through Tjoritja/West MacDonnell National Park, the vibrant landscape of Central Australia that the Hermannsburg Potters are renowned for bringing to life with their hand-crafted pots. There will be a BBQ for all attendees and community members.

Throughout Desert Mob, Mparntwe will play host to several free satellite events and activations, including special exhibition openings by several town-based Art Centres, including:

Wednesday 6 September 3 – 6PM

  • Tangentyere Artists + Yarrenyty Arltere Artists
  • Nurnaka’rinya: Belonging to Us exhibition opening, and
  • Ewyenper Atwatye Artists x Magpie Goose POP UP

Friday 8 September 6PM

  • Papunya Tula Artists
  • Kutjungkarrinyi – Gathering Together exhibition opening

Saturday 9 September 4 – 6PM

  • RAFT Artspace
  • Sun and Shadow: art of the Spinifex People book launch and exhibition

Sunday 10 September 11AM – 2PM

  • Bindi Mwerre Anthurre Artists
  • Bindi Magic exhibition opening



Desert Mob 2023 is presented by Desart, the peak body for 38 Aboriginal Art Centres across central Australia encompassing the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia.

Tickets are now on sale at

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