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10 August - 5 October

The Northern Centre for Contemporary Art (NCCA) proudly presents ’Dharripa/Tariäpaŋ/Trepang’. 

This evocative exhibition celebrates the contemporary cultural legacies shared between Aboriginal Australians and visiting Makassan seafarers. For centuries, Makassan maritime traders made annual voyages to the northern coast of Australia in search of dharripa / trepang (sea cucumbers) which they traded with China. These interactions between the visitors and the locals led to significant cultural exchanges and influenced the local Aboriginal communities in Northern Australia.

’Dharripa/Tariäpaŋ: They came here for the trepang’ is the first exhibition of its kind on the subject in Northern Territory. It includes newly commissioned work from Aboriginal and Indonesian artists as well as loans of recent and historical work from Indigenous Art Centres, public NT institutions and private collections.

Featuring barks, paintings, prints, ceramics, weavings, installations, and multimedia pieces, the exhibition offers a unique exploration of the enduring artistic traditions that continue to draw inspiration from these important historical connections. It shows the profound and lasting impact of these intercultural dialogues and reflects the shared history of trade, storytelling, and mutual respect. The show highlights the intricate blend of traditions and innovations, recognising both the past and the ongoing relevance of this unique heritage through contemporary art.