There are four art galleries in the Araluen Centre. They feature an exciting program of exhibitions including Aboriginal art, particularly from the central desert region, and contemporary art by Northern Territorian and other Australian artists.
Located in one of these galleries is the Albert Namatjira Gallery exhibiting the Territory's largest collection of original painting by this the famous Aboriginal artist. The gallery also features work by Namatjira's teacher, Rex Battarbee, and others of the "Hermannsburg School". This image above is one of Albert Namatjira painting's.
The exhibition also includes a display of the Papunya Community School Collection, a group of 14 paintings from the early 1970's. At this time, a stylistic change occurred in Central Australia, when acrylic paintings of a more symbolic nature emerged. The designs of these new works were more connected to traditional cultural practices rather than the realistic framing of local landscape in the watercolour tradition, and form the basis of a practice that continues today.
The Papunya School Collection contains works by many celebrated artists, including Long Jack Phillipus, who remains a member of the Papunya Community School Council.
The Araluen Galleries also stage major travelling exhibitions on a regular basis.
The Alice Springs Cultural Precinct is also the annual host venue for Desert Mob, the most comprehensive national exhibition documenting and presenting the current activities of Central Australian Aboriginal art centres.
The central Australian region encompasses the birthplace of the modern Aboriginal art movement. Since the beginning of this movement in the early 1970s, indigenous artists from central Australia have continued to push the boundaries of artistic expression to their limit, creating some of the most innovative contemporary works when seen within an Australia wide perspective.
Desert Mob has been a pivotal point of contact for Aboriginal artists in central Australia, playing an important role in the development of individual styles and arts practices across the region and assisting with the promotion and economic development of the indigenous arts industry in central Australia as a whole.
The annual exhibition has assisted to launch the careers of many individual artists, and assisted to raise the profile of new and emerging art centres along the way. The ability for artists to view work from other centres has been integral to the artistic development of artists living and working in the region, with an exposure to new techniques leading to artistic inspiration and the inevitable cross-fertilization between artists and art centres.
Araluen houses an extensive collection of artworks on behalf of the Alice Springs Town Council, Alice Springs Art Foundation, the Central Australian Art Society and Territory Craft. The collection as been built up over a period of more than 30 years with input from some of Australia's best-qualified judges of visual art.