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Teho Ropeyarn


A number of visually enthralling and thought-provoking exhibitions ignites tropical Cairns as a hub for Indigenous creative expression, from 6-10 July

The rich talent of Queensland’s Indigenous artists will be omnipresent in Cairns during the return of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) with 10 satellite exhibitions extending the visual art-scape throughout the city’s key cultural hubs and galleries.

While CIAF will present its Art Fair and Art Market within the spacious new hub of the Cairns Convention Centre (6-10 July, 2022), there is plenty more for art lovers and collectors to enjoy with a host of exciting new exhibitions on show at the NorthSite Contemporary Arts, Cairns Art Gallery, Court House Gallery, and Tanks Art Centre.

NorthSite Contemporary Arts 
96 Abbott Street

Traversing Three Realms: The physical, natural, and spiritual
Teho Ropeyarn
24 June - 13 August 2022

An exhibition of recent vinyl-cut prints on paper by Injinoo artist Teho Ropeyarn, including an epic new, seven-metre-long work created for the 23rd Biennale of Sydney, 2022. The exhibition explores Ropeyarn's heritage and charts the power of Aboriginal connection to Country. 

Dylan Mooney, Dylan Sarra, Darren Blackman, Kyra Mancktelow, and Dion Beasley.
24 June - 13 August 2022

This group exhibition interrogates Blak histories across Queensland. It demonstrates the return of property, land, power, and agency to rightful owners and communities through art.

Yuk Wuy Min Ngantamp
Keith Wikmunea and Heather Koowootha
24 June - 13 August 

NorthSite + Wik & Kugu Arts presents an exhibition by senior artists of the Apelech Clan, Heather Koowootha and Keith Wikmunea.

Nyungu Bubu: Stories from our Country
Bana Yirriji Art Centre (Wujul Wujul)
29 June — 10 September

The title of this exhibition translates as 'Nyungu' (our) and 'Bubu' (Country). Bubu is also the term used for 'earth', which reflects the nature of these paintings created using locally found and processed earth pigments, by grinding local ochres into powder. In this exhibition Bana Yirriji artists consider the concept of ‘sacred’.   

Confluence: Design, Technology and Culture
Tarquin Singleton, Jamaylya Ballangarry-Kearins, Leigh Harris, Nathaniel Murray, Janice Ghee, Seroma Gesa, Kayden Bosun, Raymond Clark, Sheree Jacobs, and Jamahl Yami.
4 July — 15 July (Studio A)

Led by Aboriginal creative and digital design Leigh Harris of local Indigenous Creative Agency, igneous studios, this exhibition showcases the work of IndigeDesignLabs participants over the past two and a half years.  The exhibition includes a place installation that explores the confluence of design, technology and culture through modern Indigenous digital design as created by IndigeDesignLabs participants. 

Suggoo Pennise
Dr. Ken Thaiday Snr and Grace Lillian Lee
5 July – 10 July 2022 (Studio B)

A collaboration between artist and designer Dr. Ken Thaiday Snr (Miriam Mir people) and artist and designer, Grace Lillian Lee, of kinship, material culture and oral stories developed into a new large-scale artwork, Suggoo Pennise (2021) for the 10th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT10).

Cairns Art Gallery
Cnr Shields & Abbott Streets

FACELESS: Transforming Identity, Blak/Black artists from North Australia, Africa and the African Diaspora
5 June - 2 Oct 2022

Examining blak/black identity presented in portraits by contemporary artists from Australia, Africa, and the African Diaspora and by transforming the face through embellishment and erasure, the artists are presenting multiple readings of the blak/black experience within a broader cultural, historical, social, and political framework.

A Story of My People
Dylan Mooney
25 June - 21 August 2022

Presenting three separate bodies of work that together present a personal and moving tribute to the heroism of Australia’s Indigenous and South Sea Islander peoples, Yuwu artist, Dylan Mooney explores the themes of identity, culture and lives stripped bare because of colonisation.

Court House Gallery
38 Abbott Street

Thursday 7 July 2022, Official Opening 10am

CIAF Fashion Story
30 June - 30 July 2022

Regional Indigenous Fashion and Textile Showcase (RIFTS) was the catalyst for the creation of fashion and wearable art from Tropical North Queensland. CIAF 2022 celebrates the success of models and creatives from this period.

Between 2013-2017 Grace Lillian Lee was engaged as CIAF’s inaugural Fashion curator. Since then, Grace has committed to furthering the career and showcasing opportunities for Indigenous fashion designers across Queensland and Australia through the establishment of the First Nations Fashion Design (FNFD) platform. 

The exhibition also shines a spotlight on curatorial duo, Simone Arnol and Bernard Singleton, who steered CIAF’s Fashion Performances from 2018-2021, encompassing provocative concepts including Connection to Country, Climate Change and Land Rights themes. 

Co-Curated by Francoise Lane and CIAF Artistic Director Janina Harding.

Tanks Arts Centre
46 Collins Avenue, Edge Hill

Friday 8 July 2022, Official Opening 4.30pm

Dabiyil Bajada (Water Footprints)
Sonja Carmichael & Elisa Jane Carmichael
25 June - 24 July 2022

Translating to ‘water footprint’, the exhibition features a series of six epic-scaled cyanotypes which will be draped from the ceiling, submerging audiences into a deep ocean chasm of ancient Minjerribah stories, plants, and animals.

Dabiyil Bajara – Goompi (one of the six cyanotypes) features dugongs, a highly sacred, endangered animal, floating across the deep waters of the bay, while Dabiyil Bajara – Yarrabin is about the saltwater crashing in and out, and the perennial changes in tides and times.