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14 - 23 August 2020


Rosella Namok, Full Moon. Photograph Michael Marzik

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair launches Art Awards

22 November 2016

In its commitment to support the professional development of Queensland’s talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) will celebrate its eighth annual event in 2017 with the introduction of the CIAF Art Awards.

CIAF Artistic Director, Janina Harding said the annual awards have been created to recognise the innovation and excellence displayed by artists whose work features in CIAF’s curated art fair exhibition. 

The inaugural awards will be held in conjunction with next year’s event that will take place between Friday 14 and Sunday 16 July, 2017, with the opening night on Thursday 13th July.

Ms Harding says the awards will comprise four categories: Emerging, Excellence, Innovation, Art Centre Awards and People’s Choice with a total prize cache of $45,000.

According to Ms Harding there is no application process or fee required to enter, with all works on display within the art fair space, eligible for selection. These include Queensland Indigenous Art Centres (including IACA members), local and commercial galleries and independent and guest artists.

Other criteria states that only Queensland Indigenous artists exhibited at CIAF are allowed to enter with work created within 18 months of next year’s event. Commissioned works within the art fair space will not be eligible for the awards.

The judging panel will change with each year and comprise of three judges, selected annually, by CIAF Board and management.

The judging of works will take place on Wednesday 12 July, 2017 with results announced to exhibitors at the closed breakfast on Thursday, 13 July with a formal presentation to follow at CIAF’s Opening night party that evening. 

CIAF is currently seeking sponsors for these inaugural awards for a three year period. It is anticipated that over time these Art Awards will become an essential part of CIAF and develop a reputation nationally for their excellence and innovation.

CIAF – from 2009 to now

CIAF was established by the Queensland Government in 2009 as a strategic initiative of the Backing Indigenous Arts Program.  CIAF transitioned from the Queensland Government in 2014 and become its own independent entity.  CIAF Ltd is now a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee and governed by a Board of Directors.

In essence, CIAF is the quintessential celebration of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.  CIAF is unique in that it brings together and conveys the rich diversity of Queensland Indigenous art in its curated art fair exhibition featuring more than 150 artists.  Notably, CIAF is committed to providing an ethical point for sale for Indigenous art to support the career development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists across the state.

In 2016, CIAF enjoyed its most success to date with a record attendance of 51,000 people visiting the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal and other satellite venues while art sales and ticketed events amounted to more than $630,000.  



14 - 23 AUGUST 2020


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Cairns Indigenous Art Fair Ltd is a not-for-profit company with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) and Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC) Status. All donations to the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) are greatly appreciated and will contribute to CIAF operational costs. Your support assists CIAF in continuing to attract and nurture national and international recognition for the appreciation of the vital cultural contribution of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

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