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14 - 23 August 2020


CIAF 2017 wraps up with record sales

7 August 2017


7 August, 2017. Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) has capped off its eighth year with sell out shows, a three-day turnout of 50,000 and record art sales underpinning its role as an all-inclusive cultural gathering and ethical marketplace.


Taking cue from this year’s Family Values theme, CIAF 2017 incorporated curated exhibitions, a new three-day art market, workshops, dance and music program, talks and conversations, theatre, fashion, food and the introduction of the inaugural CIAF Art Awards with winners sharing in a $45,000 prize pool.


Queensland Premier and Minister for the Arts Annastacia Palaszczuk congratulated CIAF on another exceptional Fair.


“CIAF is a remarkable celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture that each year elevates the profile and appreciation of Queensland’s Indigenous contemporary art and artists.


“I am thrilled that the Fair continues to go from strength to strength, with exciting new elements introduced this year to offer a rich and valuable cultural experience, while also realising a significant increase in art sales.


“This year the Queensland Government also supported the inaugural CIAF Art Awards, and it was a great honour to present Garry Namponan from Wik and Kugu Art Centre with the Premier’s Award for Excellence, for the most outstanding Indigenous work exhibited at the Fair.


“I congratulate the artists and team behind the 2017 event and I look forward to CIAF continuing to showcase the best of Queensland’s Indigenous art to the world and to create economic opportunities for artists and the wider Cairns community,” the Premier said.


CIAF Chair, Tom Mosby said the Board’s responsibility to deliver an authentic and memorable event showcasing Queensland’s diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander culture and heritage is significant and one that he believes has exceeded expectations in 2017.


“This year’s Fair was a resounding success topped by satellite events including the World premiere of Queensland Theatre production, My Name is Jimi about the life of Torres Strait Islander actor Jimi Bani and Wandan, CIAF’s highly anticipated annual fashion performance.”


Mr Mosby also said he was delighted with this year’s art sales of more than $760,000 that equates to a 20 per cent increase on last year’s total of $630,000. 


“CIAF is a not for profit organisation that is unique in that it has been developed on a fair-trade policy in which 100 per cent of sale are received by the artist to sustain and develop their practice.


According to CIAF Artistic Director Janina Harding, the beauty of CIAF is the way in which it provides accessibility to Queensland’s Indigenous art and culture by drawing together communities from every corner of the state, including the Torres Strait and then providing a dynamic multi-arts platform to share stories over three action-packed days.


“Most of the visual artists that exhibit at CIAF live and work in the diverse communities of Cape York and the Torres Strait and through our connections with some 13 art centres, we provide accessibility to people who would otherwise not be able to immerse themselves in the culture from one central location at the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal on the city’s waterfront.”


“While our Art Awards were introduced to achieve many objectives, including setting new and international standards and recognition, the prize money that is awarded is for the sole benefit of the artist,” Ms Harding said.


In its eight-year history, CIAF has welcomed 235,000 people to its various events, featured 1,650 artists and generated approximately $6 million in sales of Queensland Indigenous art.


The Senior Curator Indigenous Art National Gallery of Victoria, Judith Ryan commended Mr Mosby and the team at CIAF for producing an Art Fair and Market, “brimming over with works that broke new ground and were full of opportunities for individual collectors to make small purchases.”


She added, “The special awards to exhibiting artists in categories of emerging, innovation, excellence and best art centre were also a fabulous innovation.


“CIAF is special because of its performative elements, the amazing opening, the food, the huge Indigenous participation, the Fashion Parade, its laughter, fun and clamorous noise, and the fact that it focuses exclusively on Queensland and the Torres Strait.


“It gives us a window on what is happening in Indigenous owned art centres across the state and the Torres Strait and helps us to extend our collection in the areas that are a strong focus of our collection strategy for Indigenous art.” Ms Ryan said.


About CIAF

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.


CIAF was established by the Queensland Government in 2009 as a strategic initiative of Backing Indigenous Arts.  In support of CIAF realizing its full potential, a Task Force was established in 2013 to transition CIAF outside of the Queensland Government 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 2016 CIAF received the ultimate endorsement of its value and appeal with a record attendance of 51,000 people who visited the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal and other satellite venues.  Since its inception in 2009, CIAF has welcomed 185,000 people to its various events, featured 1,300 artists and generated more than $5 million in art sales for Queensland’s Indigenous artists.


CIAF is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland’s Backing Indigenous Arts initiative, which aims to build stronger, more sustainable and ethical Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts industry in the State.


For further information on CIAF 2017, visit www.ciaf.com.au



Media Contact: Pip Miller Mob: 0419 681543 Email: pip@pipmillerpr.com.au

This project is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland’s Backing Indigenous Arts initiative, which aims to build stronger, more sustainable and ethical Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts industry in the State.




14 - 23 AUGUST 2020


Visit 2020.ciaf.com.au and view Facebook live streamed virtual galleries, presentations, performances, webinars, workshops and community spotlights. 

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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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