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14 - 23 August 2020


Aurukun Ku' (Dogs). Photograph Michael Marzik


13 April 2017


Thursday, 13 April, 2017. Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) will transform the city of Cairns with its multi-faceted, all-inclusive celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture between Thursday 13 July and Sunday 16 July, 2017.

Tickets for this year’s highly anticipated CIAF Opening Night (Thursday 13 July) and CIAF Fashion Performance 2017 - WANDAN (Friday 14 July) went on sale today along with the announcement of this program highlights promising a combination of exciting newcomers and expanded favourites spanning visual art, dance, music, theatre, fashion, workshops and forums.

Speaking today, the Chair of CIAF, Tom Mosby, reaffirmed the event’s commitment to delivering a world-class event that is known for its high quality arts showcase reflecting the vibrant tapestry of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ cultures’. This year we celebrate 25 years of Mabo, and are very excited to announce that artist Gail Mabo is presenting a new body of work based on Torres Strait Islander nautical navigation through astronomy.

“What CIAF does so well, through its association with some 13 art centres and galleries, is provide an accessible platform for people to embrace Queensland’s distinctive Indigenous arts movement and cultural practice that would otherwise remain unknown. CIAF is able to present the arts and cultures from some of the most isolated communities of Cape York and the Torres Strait.”

Premier and Arts Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said CIAF is a wonderful celebration of Queensland’s contemporary Indigenous arts and culture that attracts art lovers from across the country and around the world.

“CIAF is a significant tourism drawcard for the region and an essential outlet for artists, indigenous arts centres and the wider community through the creation of economic opportunities.

“Now in its 8th year, CIAF continues to flourish and will provide thousands of visitors with a unique cultural experience, while showcasing Queensland’s truly unique Indigenous artists,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

The Premier said the Queensland Government is proud to be CIAF’s Principal Partner, through the Backing Indigenous Arts Initiative.

CIAF’s Artistic Director, Janina Harding, said 2016 was a watershed year for CIAF that attracted 51,000 people to its events at the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal and satellite venues across the city.

“When compared to other Australian Indigenous art fairs and festivals, there is nothing else like CIAF. It is the quintessential celebration of Queensland’s Indigenous art – from the dramatic lino cuts of the Torres Strait to the ghost net weaving in Pormpuraaw, the vibrant majestic colours of Mornington Island, coil pottery from Yarrabah and ceramic bagu from Girringun – CIAF is completely distinct, ever-evolving, inclusive and immersive. Over the years it has been successful in developing its own ‘sense of place’ that in essence, is a truly joyful celebration,” she said.

Ms Harding said this year’s Family Values theme has been chosen to inspire Art Centre works on display in Art Fair at Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal as well as a collection of new photographic works by youth in the Cairns and Woorabinda communities, and mentored by Woorabinda artist, Nickeema Williams at Tanks Arts Centre.

Ms Harding said this year’s theme takes cue from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ connection to country and family at the core of their cultural heritage and creative expression.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families are complex, systems-based units, sharing and passing knowledge from generation to generation. We expect our artists will interpret this theme in a range of different ways that follow the threads of family connections through community, through time, through homelands and identity,” she said.

For the past four years, CIAF has embraced Indigenous textile and fashion design with a special fashion performance curated by Grace Lillian Lee and choreographed by Fiona Wirrer-George– the calibre of which secured it a coveted position in the 2016 program of Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival. This year the CIAF Fashion Performance offering WANDAN (meaning Future) is being further enhanced in the new and atmospheric surroundings of Tanks Arts Centre (repurposed World War 2 fuel tanks neighbouring Cairns Botanic Gardens). CIAF’s fashion performances will be held on Friday, 14 July, with an expanded program of two ticketed shows to accommodate the growing audience demand.

A highly anticipated newcomer in this year’s program is a new Australian work by Queensland Theatre that will have its world premiere at CIAF in the Cairns Centre of Contemporary Arts. My Name is Jimi focusses on the life of, and features, Torres Strait Islander stage and screen actor, Jimi Bani.

Another exciting artistic collaboration introduced this year is a commissioning project spearheaded by the National Gallery of Victoria enabling artists to create a collection of traditional dance machines that will be on show and on sale at CIAF. Dance machines are hand-held mechanical moving objects – ‘clappers’ and headdresses vividly enhance Torres Strait Islander dance performances with colour, movement and sound while representing striking representations of land, water, and celestial environments.

Over the past two years CIAF has presented a two day art market that in 2017 has been expanded to offer a greater selection of artists’ works over three days in its own waterfront pavilion situated adjacent to Shed 3. The art market provides an accessible facet to the sale of quality art, craft and clothing design direct to the public, in a marketplace that is committed to best industry practice and fair dealing

As of today, tickets are on sale for all of CIAF’s ticketed events. These include the Opening Night party, fashion performances, and all of CIAF’s satellite exhibition openings.

Also unveiled today was the updated 2017 version of CIAF’s event app which provides attendees with helpful information about the event, including location maps, artist information, the ability to create your own customised CIAF schedule, ticketing, and for the first time, the ability to vote for the People’s Choice Award as part of the CIAF Art Awards.

Festival goers can also stay up to date with the latest CIAF program information by visiting www.ciaf.com.au or downloading the Event APP.



14 - 23 AUGUST 2020


Open 14 August - 2020.ciaf.com.au for 10 days of Facebook live streamed virtual galleries, presentations, performances, webinars, workshops and community spotlights. Register for updates on our Coral Expeditions Competition.

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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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