Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that the following pages may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.

Our People

The  Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation  (DAAFF) Board and Staff


Learn more about the Foundation

The DAAFF Board

Franchesca Cubillo


Senior Curator, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, National Gallery of Australia

Franchesca Cubillo is a Larrakia, Bardi, Wardaman and Yanuwa woman from the ‘Top End’ of the Northern Territory. She is the Senior Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the National Gallery of Australia (2009–Present), where she leads the curatorial team in developing eleven purpose-built Indigenous Australian art galleries, the largest display of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art in the world. She has over twenty-five years’ experience working in state and national cultural institutions.

Franchesca worked on the major exhibitions Petroglyphs (2003) and Colliding worlds: first contact in the western desert, 1932–1984 (2006) and was co-editor of the book for the National Gallery of Australia’s second National Indigenous Art Triennial, unDisclosed.

In 2006, she undertook a Churchill Fellowship to investigate international responses to the repatriation of the ancestral remains of indigenous nations worldwide. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Aboriginal Affairs and Honours in Anthropology from the University of Adelaide and is currently undertaking a PhD at the Australian National University.

Franchesca was senior curator of Aboriginal Art and Material Culture at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (2006–09), where she developed the collection, curated several Indigenous art exhibitions, including the delivery of the prestigious Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Islander Art Award. Previously, she held positions at Tandanya, National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, and the National Museum of Australia. Franchesca was curator of Aboriginal Anthropology at the South Australia Museum for eight years, where she assisted in the redevelopment of the Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery in 2000.

She has worked with many Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory as well as in communities in the western and eastern Kimberley region, the lower Murray River region of South Australia and parts of north Queensland. Franchesca has presented lectures and represented Australian Indigenous culture at national and international forums, particularly in the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Japan.

She has worked with many Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory as well as in communities in the western and eastern Kimberley region, the lower Murray River region of South Australia and parts of north Queensland. Franchesca has presented lectures and represented Australian Indigenous culture at national and international forums, particularly in the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Japan.

Dorrie-Anne Raymond

Larrakia Nation Representative

Administration for Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation

Born in Darwin, Dorrie-Anne is a descendant of the Dangalaba Gullumbirrigin Saltwater Clan. She is from the Batcho family, which is one the three major Dangalaba Clan groups. Dorrie-Anne’s generally refers to her People as Larrakia.

Dorrie-Anne has been employed with the Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation for ten years. She initially started there as a research assistant in the Research Division, and developed the publication “NDLERF – An investigation into the influx of Indigenous ‘visitors’ to Darwin’s Long Grass from remote NT communities – phase 2. – Being undesirable: law, health and life in Darwin’s Long Grass.” She then proceeded to an administration role, which included looking after the art room (buyers and artists). Dorrie-Anne is well known for her “Welcome to Country” and has delivered them to local, interstate and international events, helping visitors to Darwin recognise the incredible Larrakia Country, and those ancestors past, present and future.

Dorrie-Anne was invited to join the DAAFF Board, as the Larrakia Nation Representative because of her involvement with the Fair over several years, presenting the “Welcome to Country”, and her ongoing passion for supporting Indigenous Art Centres.

Philip Watkins

DAAFF Deputy Chair

Chief Executive Officer of Desart

Philip Watkins was born and raised in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, and is part of large extended Arrernte and Larrakia families.

In August 2011, Philip was appointed the Executive Officer of Desart. Desart is a peak body that advocates for the independence of remote Aboriginal Art Centres in Central Australia, fostering some forty-four Art Centres.

Prior to his appointment at Desart, Philip was employed as the Artistic and Cultural Director of the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute – Tandanya (2006-2011). This followed on from a range of positions held at the Central Land Council over a twelve year period.

Currently, Philip is a Fellow of the Governor’s Leadership Foundation (South Australia) and is a Board Member of the Indigenous Art Code of Conduct Ltd.

Cecilia Alfonso

DAAFF Treasurer

Director of Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation

Cecilia Alfonso was born in Chile and emigrated to Sydney, Australia with her family in the early 1970s. She has also lived in the United States of America, Africa and Hong Kong in pursuit of her passion for art. Cecilia achieved First Class Honours in History from the University of New South Wales, and a Masters of Art Administration from the College of Fine Arts, UNSW. While living in the United States of America she completed an internship with National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institute.

Cecilia has been working at Warlukurlangu Artists in Yuendumu since December 2001. Warlukurlangu Artists is Indigenous owned and operated and represents more than 500 artists from the communities of Yuendumu and Nyirripi. It is one of the largest and most successful Art Centres in Australia.

Christina Davidson

Public Officer

Chief Executive Officer of ANKA

Christina Davidson is the Chief Executive Officer of the Arnhem, Northern and Kimberley Artists (ANKA, formally ANKAAA) Aboriginal Corporation – the peak advocacy and support agency for over 5,000 Indigenous artists and 49 Aboriginal owned art centres and artist groups in the regions of: Arnhem Land, the Kimberley, Tiwi Islands and Katherine/ Darwin. Christina works for the all Indigenous board elected from across the ANKA regions which cover over 1 million square kilometres of country in Northern Australia. Before joining ANKA in late 2007, Christina had appointments lecturing in contemporary art and art theory at the universities of Sydney and Melbourne.

Lynley Nargoodah

DAAFF Board Member

Mangkaja Arts Administrative Assistant and Special Projects Co-ordinator

Lynley Nargoodah is a Nyikina/ Walmajarri woman from Fitzroy Crossing. As a mother of 5 kids, sharing of stories is very important to her, as it defines the past and shapes the future for herself and her family. Lynley has been employed by Mangkaja Arts for 6 years as the Gallery/ Administrative Assistant and now she works as Special Projects Co-ordinator. In her role she assists staff, artists and families with day to day business. She organises the money story for everyone and co-ordinates special projects that celebrate the Mangkaja collection and connect them to exhibition opportunities in institutions.

Lynley was part of the Desert River Sea: Kimberly Art Then & Now Visual Arts Leadership Program, curating a selection of works from the Mangkaja collection with Carly Lane Art Gallery of WA. She is an Arts Worker Extension Program (AWEP) graduate, has recently undertaken a qualification in conservation through Melbourne University’s Ian Potter Centre, and is also a graduate of the Wesfarmers Program with NMA. Lynley is also a current board member for ANKA.

Joann Russo

DAAFF Board Member

Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre Manager

Joann Russo is a Kuku Yalanji /Mitakoodi woman from Ingham North Queensland. She is the first Aboriginal woman to be appointed as the Manager for the Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre, located in Cardwell. In her role she empowers the Traditional Owner groups of the region to prosper in their creative endeavours, encourage transfer of knowledge while educating others about the value that comes from Indigenous communities. She works with Elders and members from the Djiru, Jirrbal, Warrgamay, Girramay, Nywaigi, Gulnay, Gugu Badhan, Bandjin & Warungnu Tribal groups.

She has been employed at the Girringun Aboriginal Art centre for 4 years, starting as an Arts worker then moving on to managing the ethically licenced products and various other projects for the Girringun Aboriginal Corporation including the first Girringun Youth Camp, an annual event held on country to ensure the future leaders maintain Cultural Knowledge.

Joann is an alumni of the NGA Arts Leadership program, having participated in 2018. The program helped her to understand her leadership role within the community. She values the importance Indigenous voices and culture has played in the Arts sector and continues to advocate for that voice to be heard.

Tarun Sharma CPA

DAAFF Board Member

Founder and owner of Sharma Consulting Group

Sharma Consulting Group (SCG) is a Canberra based firm providing accounting and business services to organisations that aim to make a difference in their communities. SCG was established in 2016 by Tarun Sharma, who after working in the private and public sector for over 10 years decided to set up his own firm. During his career, Tarun has worked for major multinationals, federal government, and public accounting practices. While in public practice, Tarun started working with a number of not for profits and people focused organisations and saw a need for experienced, people focused, accounting and business services professionals.  With this in mind Tarun established Sharma Consulting Group, a firm which has passion for working with organisations that put people ahead of profits.

SCG also brings together other like-minded professionals in order to meet the diverse needs of our clients. Partnering with individuals and other business with similar values supports the passion which Tarun, and SCG, have to work with clients to help reach their people and business goals.

Tarun is a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA), and a registered BAS agent. He works closely with a number of Art Centres across Australia and has a sound understanding  and deep respect for the Art Centre model.

Pamela Bigelow

DAAFF Board Member

Indigenous Art Centre Alliance (IACA) Manager

Pamela Bigelow, is the founding manager of the Indigenous Art Centre Alliance – IACA. She has successfully developed a Peak Body for Queensland Art Centres that supports culturally strong best practice Indigenous art enterprises. Pam has worked with Indigenous communities for over 30 years in a wide variety of roles, including Indigenous Lead Centre, Wet Tropics Natural and Cultural Heritage Interpretation, and the Conservation Commission of the NT. Pam is a director on the
Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation and the Indigenous Art Code Boards and the newly formed Indigenous Art digital labeling reference group.

The DAAFF Staff

Claire Summers

Executive Director

Claire Summers was born in Melbourne, Victoria and has a keen interest in social enterprises and economic development strategies for unprivileged communities in the third world. After completing her Arts (Sociology/Behavioural Studies)/Business (Management/Marketing) degrees at Monash University, she traveled to Maningrida, Arnhem Land, to gain experience working in an Aboriginal community. Quickly recognising the third-world living conditions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, combined with their rich art and culture, she committed her career to the development and sustainability of the Art Centre model.

From 2005-2010 Claire worked various roles at Maningrida Arts & Culture (Arts Administrator, Assistant Director and Acting Director) and also was the business developer for the Northern Territory and National award winning “Arnhem Land Eco Cultural Tours”. In 2007, Claire managed the delivery of the 1st Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair in addition to her role at the Art Centre. From 2010-2012 Claire managed the Bábbarra Women’s Centre which involved the development of seven micro businesses that supported the employment of Indigenous women. One of these businesses was the flourishing textile design workshop, Bábbarra Designs.

From 2013-2016 Claire worked closely with a number of Art Centres across Australia providing business consultation, strategy development support and relief management.

Claire managed the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair event in 2007 and 2008, and then sat on the “DAAF Steering Committee” from 2009-2011. She was actively involved in establishing the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation (DAAFF), and was elected as one of its first board members in 2012. In April 2013, Claire contracted to DAAFF as the event manager and worked as the sole part-time employee. In March 2016, Claire was appointed as DAAFF’s first Executive Director.

Claire has been responsible for the growth and development of the Foundation and its activities including the art fair, two fashion shows and an Indigenous curators program. She has also increased the DAAFF membership to include 70 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Centres and peak bodies from across Australia.

Mandy Tripcony

General Manager

Mandy is DAAFF’s General Manager and works from the Darwin office. Initially contracted as Event Manager in 2016, she quickly filled the position of the part time Arts Administer role. Mandy accepted the position of the Foundations’ first General Manager in July 2019. Prior to DAAFF, Mandy lived in the Daly River region, south of Darwin, for four years and over this time worked within her family business and managed Merrepen Arts Centre in the Nauiyu Nambiyu community. She has a Diploma in Leadership and Management and is also a Registered Nurse.

Shilo McNamee

Public Program Coordinator

Shilo McNamee is a musician, visual artist and emerging curator based in Darwin, Northern Territory, and is of Greek, Eastern Arrernte, Anglo Irish descent. Shilo earned a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Charles Darwin University in 2008 and has since been an active participant in the Darwin arts community. McNamee worked as Manager for the Darwin Visual Arts Association 2015 – 2018. In 2017 she was selected to attend the Venice Biennale as a part of the Australia Council’s Indigenous Curator program. As a visual artist, McNamee’s work is based in graphic art, and illustration. Shilo also regularly instructs classes on drawing, and painting and enjoys bringing this practical knowledge to her role with DAAFF.

Tammy Schlitz

Partnership Relations

Tammy has worked in fundraising within the not-for-profit sector in Australia for 18 years. Having held senior management roles across all areas of fundraising, marketing and communications working with large organisations such as Red Cross and working with smaller organisations to build fundraising programs from scratch. Tammy first started working with DAAFF in 2015 and continues to work to support DAAFF Partner Relations.

Nina Fitzgerald

Research and Development Officer

Nina is a proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman who was born and raised in Darwin. On her mother’s side she traces her lineage to Arnhem Land, Cape York, and the Torres Strait Islands. For the last seven years she has mainly lived in Melbourne, where she completed a Science Degree at the University of Melbourne, and is currently studying a Masters of Environments. Nina has worked in research roles pertaining to Indigenous advancement in health and tertiary education, and also worked as a research assistant and content curator on Marcia Langton’s Guide to Indigenous Australia.

Dylan Buckee

Visual Communications

Dylan has over 20 years of experience in visual communications, and a background in teaching and environmental campaigning. Dylan is the founder and owner of Moksha Design & Communications and supports a client base of not-for-profits and ethical businesses, providing stunning digital and print services, graphic design, web design and photography. He has been working with DAAFF since 2016, and is deeply committed to addressing social justice, environmental issues, and the role DAAFF plays in these areas. He is particularly passionate about treaty and constitutional recognition of Australia’s First Peoples.

Dave Giles-Kaye

Fashion Projects Consultant

Dave is an experienced senior executive from the textile and fashion industry. For the last four years as CEO of the Australian Fashion Council he has worked with companies and individuals across all sectors of the industry for the purpose of their personal and organisational growth. Earlier in his 25 year career in the industry Dave worked with global outdoor apparel leader WL Gore (Gore-Tex) in new ventures and R&D. He also co-founded London based fashion brand Frankly, led business development for smart materials technology company Imagine Intelligent Materials, and was CEO of Australian Defence Apparel.

Mel Brautigam

Digital Communications (Social Media)

Mel has been working in the social media space for the past decade. Often travelling interstate and overseas to continue her training in the consistent change of social media platforms. Born and raised in Darwin as well as spending 10 years in Alice Springs, Mel is a passionate ambassador for Northern Territory Tourism and Major Events. Under her business Savvy Social she travels around the Territory each year to attend and promote Territory Indigenous Arts and Events to her online audience of 20,000 followers as well as across the digital platforms owned by the NT Government and other major businesses.

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