The satellite exhibition has previously run in tandem with the Melbourne Art Fair, but will now go it alone.

Artists and art lovers across Australia were shocked last week by the unexpected cancellation of the 2016 Melbourne Art Fair. However a silver lining has now appeared around this dark cloud, as MAF satellite event, NotFair, has pledged to go ahead.

Launched in 2010 by arts writer Ashley Crawford and artists Sam Leach and Tony Lloyd, NotFair offers a platform to artists whose work doesn’t fit within the often rigid tastes of the commercial gallery sector. The not-for-profit organisation aims to celebrate artworks that may not have an immediate market appeal, as well as creating education and mentoring programmes for emerging talent. NotFair also acknowledges the most accomplished artist in its show with the Arkley Prize: a $10,000 award given to the artist selected as the “best in exhibition,” in honour of the Melbourne-born painter Howard Arkley.

NotFair founders Sam Leach and Tony Lloyd

The purpose of NotFair – representing artists neglected by commercial exhibitors – has taken on a particularly significant resonance this year, given that it was the withdrawal of several commercial galleries that forced the cancellation of the biennial Melbourne Art Fair. Traditionally many Melbourne based artists have relied on income from the MAF, which attracts many interstate and international dealers and collectors, so the potential knock-on effect on the Australian visual art scene could be substantial. However the shock cancellation offers NotFair the opportunity to champion even more artists as one of the major art sales in the Victorian capital this year, NotFair chairman Paul Guest said in a statement.

“The show will definitely go on,” Guest said. “We feel that the NotFair brand is now well enough known to stand alone as a major event and we intend to create our own momentum this year.” At its last exhibition in 2014, NotFair displayed work by 23 artists, but 2016’s show is expected to feature more to help meet the increased demand created by the MAF’s cancellation. NotFair will occupy 524 Flinders Street, in Melbourne’s CBD, from August 16 – 21.

Subscribe to Limelight - AWO Offer