A Guide to Desert Mob and Marketplace

A much-anticipated event on the Alice Springs’ calendar, Desert Mob is arguably the most comprehensive survey of contemporary Aboriginal art in the country. With a history of 30 years, and counting, Desert Mob is held every September and organised by Desart. The main exhibition, film program and Marketplace bring together artists and their work from Desart’s member art centres all over the Central and Western Desert cultural region.

About Desart

Desart supports its extensive membership of Aboriginal-owned art centres throughout Central Australia and the wider Central and Western Desert region, providing professional development opportunities, accredited training and workshops. They help their members build capacity and practise sustainable business models in selling and commissioning their art.

For event details and more information about Desart see the website.


Aboriginal Artists

Experience the powerful stories of several Aboriginal artists featured in the Desert Mob exhibition at the film program, Art Centres on Screen (1–7 September, 2022). Hear their stories directly from the desert, with artists sharing their personal histories, art and community. Attend the exhibition and Marketplace to see artworks up close by the Namatjira watercolour artists (Iltja Ntjarra), Hermannsburg Potters, Ikuntji Artists, Tjanpi Desert Weavers, Utopia Art Centre and many more.

Desert Mob art

Indigenous Art For Sale

The Desert Mob Marketplace takes place for one day only (September 10, 2022). This large art market at Araluen Arts Centre is a great opportunity to buy ethically sourced contemporary Aboriginal art, such as paintings, punu, ceramics, Tjanpi weaving, sculptures, clothing, jewellery, textiles and homewares.

Not to be confused with the type of marketplace where you can haggle, it’s important to be courteous of the artists and understand that their artwork is an extension of ancient culture, passed down through millenia. Asking questions about the artwork is encouraged, but don’t be dismayed if the artist doesn’t share a lot of detail – sacred Dreaming stories are often contained within artwork, and cannot always be shared.

All income from sales goes to the art centres, and you’ll have the opportunity to meet and chat with artists selling their work. Get there early, as crowds of locals will also be here in search of ethical, one-of-a-kind pieces.

Desert Mob Marketplace 1

Desert Mob Marketplace 2

Desert Mob Marketplace

Desert Mob Gallery

The Desert Mob Exhibition (8 September – 23 October 2022) is an unmissable gallery experience at Araluen Arts Centre. This year will be no exception, as it features hundreds of new, innovative artworks from emerging and established artists who continue to transform and revolutionise arts and cultural expression. Join the opening night festivities amongst purchasers and collectors, or view the exhibition at your own pace over the following few months.

Desert Mob Exhibition 2

Desert Mob Exhibition 3

Desert Mob Gallery Exhibition

How to spend your time during the day

Use your daylight hours wisely and take some day trips through the East and West MacDonnell Ranges. You’ll be able to take a dip in a desert gorge waterhole and marvel at the extreme rock formations and dry riverbeds. Glide gently over Alice Springs with views of the sunrise from a hot air balloon, or visit the Alice Springs Desert Park, where you’ll learn about the native plants and animals of the Red Centre. 

There is also a range of museums and historical sites within walking and cycling distance in and around Alice Springs. The Old Gaol and the Central Australian Aviation Museum have fantastic collections that will take you on a trip back in time.



There is a range of accommodation within Alice Springs. There are options to suit every budget and range, from family-friendly to solo travellers. 

Desert Mob & Marketplace FAQ

The Desert Mob MarketPlace is a large, affordable art market that takes place at the beginning of Desert Mob; bringing together paintings, punu, ceramics, Tjanpi weaving, sculpture, clothing, jewellery, textiles and homewares from Aboriginal owned art centres across Central Australia. Buying work at the Desert Mob Marketplace ensures the ethical purchasing of art with all income going to art centres.
Absolutely. This event is free to attend and is held at the Araluen Art Centre, usually in the carpark and foyer.
In 2022 Desert Mob MarketPlace will take place on September 10.
In 2022, the Desert Mob Exhibition be open from September 8 to October 23.
The MarketPlace will take place on September 10.
The Art Centres on Screen will be on from September 1 - 7.
Araluen Arts Centre. 61 Larapinta Drive, Alice Springs.
Desert Mob Marketplace is the holy grail of buying art work. The one day event is the perfect opportunity to experience and share in the art created by Central Australian Art Centres.


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