Former Deputy Treaty Commissioner for the Northern Territory

Ursula Raymond was born and raised in Darwin, where she still resides. Her cultural heritage is both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and she has extended family and cultural connections across the Territory, as well as in other parts of Australia, especially the Torres Strait and North Queensland. In her role as the Deputy Treaty Commissioner for the Northern Territory she travelled across the NT talking with First Nations and Aboriginal women about Treaty matters. She has a long career in the media (initially as a broadcaster and journalist with the ABC and particularly as Producer of the Awaye! Program on Radio National for more than 10-years), Garrmalang Festival as the inaugural co-producer with Ben Graetz. A media, policy, and political adviser worked at both the Federal and Territory parliamentary level for NT politicians and contributed to the establishment of Radio Larrakia.

Ursula holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbin in Naarm (Melbin) on the traditional lands of the Kulin nation and is currently studying Bachelor of Laws at CDU. Ursula has also been on several Boards including the Darwin Festival. She loves DAAFF and all the work it does in supporting First Nations artists, organisations, and communities – it is ground-breaking and beautiful. In her previous role as Arts Adviser to Minister Moss in the NT Government she spent a lot of time getting to know DAAFF and working closely across various issues from funding to office accommodation, and the inaugural Country to Couture fashion runway and the National Indigenous Fashion Awards (NIFA). She was also a judge on the inaugural NIFA in 2020.

Nadine Lee

Larrakia Nation Representative

Nadine Lee is from the Larrakia, Wardaman and Karajarri peoples of NT and WA with Asian and European ancestry. Born and raised in Darwin from a large artistic and cultural family she has been a practicing artist since graduating with a Bachelor of Creative Arts and Industries (Visual Arts) from Charles Darwin University in 2015. She is a multi-disciplinary artist who has shown in local and National exhibitions.

Nadine is a 2016 alumni of the exclusive inaugural Encounters Indigenous Cultural Workers Scholarship with the National Museum of Australia supported by The Princes Trust Charities Australia and a 2018 alumni from the National Gallery of Australia, Wesfarmers Indigenous Arts Leadership Program. Nadine was involved as an Associate Researcher for the Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for the Aboriginal Screen-Printing Textiles from Australian ‘s Top End Exhibition. She is a Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Cultural workers alumni and long-term volunteer, resulting in a 6mths traineeship at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory working as a Conservator on specific projects like the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (NATSIAA) and other major exhibitions since 2012. Nadine has been a Contractor Installer for Charles Darwin University, CDU Art Gallery on several exhibitions and was the Indigenous Travelling Exhibitions Officer at the National Gallery of Australia in early 2020. She is currently the Northern Territory Regional Arts Fund Manager for Darwin Community Arts (DCA) and causal Creative Producer at DCA. Qualified registered Laughing Yoga Leader.

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 Chief Executive Officer of Desart. Prior to his appointment at Desart, Philip was employed as the Artistic and Cultural Director of the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute – Tandanya (2006-2011). Philip is currently a Board Member of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT) and the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation; and is a member of the Ministerial Creative Industries Advisory Council (NT).


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.

Mel George

Board Member

Executive Director of Bula’Bula Arts

Mel George is of Greek and Aboriginal heritage living on Yolŋu land. She is the former Manager of Ernabella Arts (2019 to 2021) and the current Executive Director of Bula’Bula Arts, Ramingining, NT. Prior to this, she worked for several years as the Curator at Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre and was the inaugural Project Manager for the DESIGN Canberra festival. She received her undergraduate degree from the Canberra School of Art and was the recipient of the Luminis Foundation Indigenous Fellowship for Cultural Leadership which assisted her to obtain a Master’s degree from NIDA. Throughout her career she has sought to foster artists and the works they produce by helping to broaden support bases by making artists visible and valued to new audiences.

Christina Davidson

DAAFF Board Member

Chief Executive Officer of ANKA

Christina Davidson is the CEO of the Arnhem, Northern and Kimberley Artists (ANKA) Aboriginal Corporation – the peak body for over 6,000 Indigenous artists and 48 Aboriginal-owned Art Centres and artist groups in Arnhem Land, the Kimberley, Tiwi Islands and Katherine/ Darwin. Founded in 1987, ANKA is governed by an all-Aboriginal board elected from its regions of over 1 million square kilometres of Northern Australia. ANKA’s vision is to Keep Art, Country and Culture Strong. Its mission is to support self-determination for Aboriginal artists and art centres. Before joining ANKA in late 2007, Christina held lectureships in contemporary art and art theory at the universities of Sydney and Melbourne. Christina is also a director on the Indigenous Art Code board.

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.


Chad Creighton

DAAFF Board Member

Chief Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Art Centre Hub of Western Australia

Chad Creighton is a Bardi and Nyul Nyul man from the Kimberley region of WA. Born in Broome he lived in the township and surrounding communities for most of his life.

Chad is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Art Centre Hub of Western Australia based in Perth. He studied Fine Art at the University of Western Australia and Heritage Studies at Curtin University. Chad has a diversity of knowledge and experience working in the arts, heritage and native title.

His work experience includes, curatorial experience within a state gallery, development of major art projects, coordinating heritage and environmental activities, community based consultation for development projects and managing native title services in the West Kimberley.

He is currently a member of the City of Perth Cultural Advisory Committee, WA Museum Aboriginal Advisory Committee and Revealed Advisory Committee.

Franchesca Cubillo

Former  & Inaugural DAAFF Chair (2012-2022)

The DAAFF Family would like to sincerely thank Franchesca for 11 years of incredible leadership. She lead the vision of our amazing organisation, and nurtured through both the triumphs and the challenges. We are so incredibly grateful for her time with us.


Joann Russo

 Former DAAFF Board Member (2019-2022)


Thanking Joann for 3 years as a member on our Board as an Art Centre representative. 


Claire Summers

Executive Director & Public Officer

Claire has over 18 years of experience and expertise in the Indigenous art and fashion industry. She has a deep interest in social enterprise, and is passionate about supporting the Art Centre model, and working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to gain economic independence, and focus on their cultural priorities. Whilst working for Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation in Maningrida Arnhem Land, NT, she managed Maningrida Arts & Culture (2005-2010), Bábbarra Women’s Centre (2010-2012)and also helped establish a Brolga Award winning eco-tourism business.

In 2013, Claire was employed as the first Executive Director of the newly founded Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Foundation after serving as the event manager the Fair for its initial two years (2007-2008), sitting on its steering committee from 2009-2011, and being elected as an inaugural board member in 2012.

Claire has been responsible for the growth and development of the Foundation and its activities which include the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair and its programs, the Digital Pivot Initiative which is set to launch in 2024, and Indigenous Fashion Projects (established in 2020) which encompasses Country to Couture, National Indigenous Fashion Awards, and business capacity building programs in fashion for Art Centres and Indigenous designers.

Shilo McNamee

Artistic Director

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.

Sammy Perry

Director, Events & Operations

Sammy has more than 20 years experience coordinating and overseeing the design, build and construction of multi-million dollar high profile events and exhibitions both local, interstate and internationally. With recent roles establishing Magnolia Flower Merchants, Business Development and Operations Manager for Agentur and five years as the General Manager of Fusion Exhibitions which included the operations management of DAAF from 2016 and several runway installations for Country to Couture including the Smoking ring and 6m tall tree.

Internationally trained and award winning, Sammy is a highly skilled Event Creative and Operations Manager with extensive experience in design, marketing, production management, social media marketing, account and sales management, business, administration, team leadership, culture and development.

Born on Gadigal Country, Sammy now calls Darwin home with her two children whilst competing as an amateur boxer and restyling homes with her company Joy Creative. Sammy has joined the DAAFF team with a firm knowledge of its operations and programs and looks forward to using her critical thinking, business development, creative and relationship skills to continue to develop exceptional events and opportunities for our artists, Art Centres and communities.

Tikesa Docherty-Cole

Customer Service & Administration Officer

Tikesa is a proud Luritja, Wambaya and Thursday Islander woman residing on Larrakia Country in Darwin, Northern Territory. Tikesa completed her Diploma in Event Management at Charles Darwin University in 2021 while working full time at the Department of the Chief Minister and raising three children. Tikesa has previous experience in events, administration and community engagement and is looking forward to combining her creative nature with her current event and administration skills.

Ellie Meyer

Marketing & Communications Manager

Ellie has a keen interest in design and the opportunity for creative industries to have positive social and environmental impact.

Ellie’s experience lies in the fashion and textile industry, having previously worked as a Senior Project Manager and Head of Media and Communications at the NFP organisation Australian Fashion Council (AFC), where she spent 5 years across their digital portfolio and a number of industry projects.
Ellie has a Masters in Fashion Entrepreneurship from RMIT University, and a BA in Fashion and Textile Design from Curtin University, providing a rich knowledge base of the apparel industry from both design and business perspectives.

In 2019 she had the privilege of being able to spend a short visit volunteering with the inspiring artists and team at Marnin Studio, Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre in Fitzroy Crossing, followed by a trip to Darwin to DAAF. She identifies this experience as a personal game changer.

Ellie joined the DAAFF team to support their communications activities and the broader work of the Foundation and the Art Centre membership across both art and fashion, passionate about supporting opportunities for First Nations people in art and design.

Maya Johnson

Social Content Coordinator

Maya dances towards all things visual and creative communications. Her drive and passion are for the love of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island textiles, fashion and art.

Maya is a proud Wulgurukaba woman from Yunbunen, Magnetic Island, and currently resides on Wurudjuri Country in Naarm. Maya has earned a Bachelor of Journalism and Social Media, majoring in Marketing at Bond University. Her experience lies within the journalism and communications industry, where she has interned for The United Nations, ABC and NITV.

Maya has spent the past few years working in various roles such as Communications Advisor and Social Media Coordinator. Jumping out of her comfort zone, Maya wants to experience the fashion and textile industry from the communications and marketing sector perspective.

Maya aspires to support the changing landscape and help open the space to engage with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives.

Dylan Buckee

Visual & Digital 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.

Michelle Maynard

Manager, Indigenous Fashion Projects

Michelle is a contemporary Tasmanian Aboriginal designer, a project manager and facilitator within a community development, capacity building and therapeutic context.

Since re-training in Fashion Design and Project Management in the last 10 years, she has established a design practice and strong professional reputation for her creative practice and project management capabilities.

Passionate about advocating for her people and country through art and design, Michelle’s love lies with fashion and textiles. She is a leader in the emergence of First Nations Fashion and Textile Design in Tasmania and co-creator of Ya’rnin – Recovering Kinship through Design, fashion and textile design pilot project.

Michelle is also a leading collaborator with Walantanalinany Palingina, a key Tasmanian Aboriginal Multi Arts Initiative.

Alira Mckenzie

Project Manager, Indigenous Fashion Projects

Alira Mckenzie-Williams is a proud Bundjalung woman from Northern New South Wales who currently resides on Kaurna Land in Adelaide.  As a strong advocate for the ethical sales and distribution of Aboriginal artwork under the Indigenous Art Code she is excited to Join the DAAF Foundation team as the Project Manager of Indigenouse Fashion Project.

Alira was trained as a stage manager with the State Theatre Company of South Australia and was involved in dozens of theatre productions.

Since 2019 she has worked at the Art Gallery of South Australia as Public Programs Officer, and has been involved in each of their Tarnanthi exhibitions since the festival’s inception.

Alira is a Youth Delegate for the Uluru Statement from the Heart and is proud to have worked at the first state institution to have hung the Uluru Statement from the Heart in 2019.

Belinda Cook

Special Projects and Research Development, Indigenous Fashion Projects

Belinda is an experienced project manager and consultant living on Yawuru/Djugun country in WA, with 15 years experience in the Indigenous Arts and Community Development industries. Belinda has a Masters in International Development and Post grad qualifications in Arts and Cultural management. She worked with NPY Women’s Council, Papunya Tula and Tjanpi Desert Weavers in Central Australia, before moving to the Kimberley region of WA where she managed Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency in Fitzroy Crossing for 7 years.

She now specialises in strategic and art centre model development, having overseen the successful delivery of major exhibition programs, collaborative cross industry partnerships, business revenue diversification and the advancement of Indigenous artist careers nationally and internationally.

Collaborative practice and cross industry partnerships are a key interest, with a specialisation in the development of fashion and textiles innovation in remote and regional communities. Belinda is a Churchill Fellow, undertaking research and policy advice relating to Indigenous fashion industry growth. She managed the Mangkaja x Gorman collaboration and is co-ordinating a regional fashion program named KAFTA (Kimberley Aboriginal Fashion Textiles Art) with a team of leading Aboriginal Kimberley creatives to build industry capacity and opportunities for Kimberley communities. Belinda is dedicated to the decentralisation of services and industry, increasing opportunity and elevating regional and remote based Indigenous creative practices.

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.

Recent DAAF News

Honouring their Totems

Honouring their Totems

In this blog we highlight four remarkable artists who pay homage to their ancestral totems through their craft, each bringing their unique perspective to the forefront, as showcased by Art Centres who’ll be showcasing at Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair (DAAF) 2024.

Painting Through Feeling

Painting Through Feeling

Yindjibarndi painter Marlene Harold has developed an adaptive and original mix of dot and splatter techniques in her practice to create vivid, impressionistic depictions of Country.