ALICE SPRINGS, SEPTEMBER 28, 2008” The centre of Australia is buzzing as the renowned annual Aboriginal art gathering, Desert Mob, unfolds. Last night’s launch of the McCulloch’s Contemporary Aboriginal Art: the complete guide was warmly received in the Red Centre, and brought together over 150 key people in Aboriginal art from around Australia, including artists, community arts centre representatives, private gallery directors and collectors, who were first in line to purchase the new edition of Australia’s authoritative guide.

Launching the guide, Alison Hunt, Mutitjulu elder and spokeswoman, and author Susan McCulloch’s childhood friend, spoke about the importance of art in bringing people together. She said how proud she was to be launching her sister’s book and how, since a chance meeting when they were both 14, they had formed a bond that has been reflected in lives spent working to teach non-indigenous people about Aboriginal culture.

Cecilia Alfonso, director of one of the top four arts centres in Australia, Warlukurlangu Aboriginal Artists at Yuendumu, said that when she was first looking for a job in art she had picked up a copy of the first edition and was inspired to go after the job that she did because she’d seen a picture of Susan outside an arts centre building at Yuendumu, the building of which she is now director. She remarked on how the book, a constant reference source for her, has introduced Aboriginal art to so many people, and that the new edition shows there’s still much to learn.

McCulloch’s Contemporary Aboriginal Art: the complete guide is an illustrated, informative guide that traces the growth in modern Aboriginal art through its regional differences. It is three times the size of the original, now covering over 80 art-producing communities across the country. Leading Aboriginal art commentator Susan McCulloch and her co-author, daughter and publishing partner Emily McCulloch Childs (authors also of the seminal reference on Australian art, McCulloch’s Encyclopedia of Australian Art, which celebrates its 40th birthday this year) have travelled widely for more than 20 years throughout the central and western deserts, the Top End, Kimberley, Arnhem Land and Australia generally.

Both are attending today’s major event:

11am Media Preview: Desert Mob Exhibition, Araluen Arts Centre, 61 Larapinta Drive

2pm Opening: Desert Mob Exhibition by The Honourable Alison Anderson, MLA, and Member for Macdonnell and Minister for Central Australia, and Hetti Perkins, Senior Curator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, Art Gallery of NSW

40th Birthday events and local launches of McCulloch’s Contemporary Aboriginal Art will also be held at Melbourne Fine Art at 6pm Tuesday, October 7; at Art Sydney on Friday, October 24; at the Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art on Wednesday, November 12, and in Perth at 2pm Saturday, November 15. For details of the guide and other titles visit

Further information and interviews:
Rée Izett 0418 101 399