RAFT artspace is committed to showing Indigenous work in the context of Contemporary art in a program that includes other Contemporary art. Founded in Darwin in 2001 by Dallas Gold, RAFT presented more than 150 exhibitions there, before relocating in 2010 to Alice Springs. In 2016 RAFT expanded to Hobart, forming RAFT south.
The formation of RAFT was prompted by actual events on the ground, which lead to the development of a new and ever evolving visual language for Contemporary Indigenous expression. In response, the exhibition program celebrates difference and shows Aboriginal art as a movement in art in a dialogue with other forms of Contemporary art and foregrounds influences in both directions.
RAFT is renowned nationally and internationally for its unique style and carefully considered exhibitions. Since its inception, the gallery has set an agenda promoting community interest in the region and provoking an extensive critical discourse.
For Dallas Gold; "There is a whole other territory, where it becomes a dialogue, a celebration of difference in the work".
RAFT is a commercial gallery and business enterprise informed by cultural awareness and social responsibility committed to best practice. RAFT sources Indigenous work through accredited art centres.
- Locates Contemporary art from the region in which it was made
- Exhibits and represents local, Northern and Central Australian art
- Presents solo exhibitions, curates project shows and promotes artists and develops audiences for their work
- Responds to dialogue between contemporary artists – local and Indigenous
Dallas Gold was born in Sydney in 1956. In the 1980s he lived in Newcastle where he earned a reputation for good food and innovative menus as a chef and caterer at various new-style cafes/restaurants. His epiphany came in 1991 when a catering client, a painting lecturer at Newcastle University, suggested he enrol in the Visual Arts course. He did and continued his studies at Charles Darwin University when he moved to Darwin.
In 1993 he held his first solo painting exhibition, Cornucopia, at Lindsay Street Café/Gallery in Darwin. Over the decade, he practiced as a visual artist making work for several exhibitions, undertaking commissions and working as a printmaker and framer.
In 2001 he opened a gallery, RAFT artspace, initially in association with fellow artist, friend and mentor, Peter Adsett. The gallery’s name honours the legacy of the Australian painter, Ian Fairweather, and alludes to his epic raft journey from Darwin to Indonesia.
Advice to prospective and continuing collectors on current issues and assistance navigating the Indigenous art world
Dealing in art through the stockroom
Providing collection advice and management to private and corporate clients
Valuing art and collections