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CIAF 2023

CIAF 2023 presents Urban BLAKtivation

29 Jun 2023

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Cairns Indigenous Art Fair is proud to present the rescheduled Urban BLAKtivation event, an exciting new First Nations festival that will culturally immerse visitors to the Shields Street streetscape in the Cairns CBD this Saturday October 21 from 4.30pm to 8pm.

Delivering a lively and culturally inclusive experience that is destined to surprise and delight all who happen across Shields Street, Urban BLAKtivation was postponed due to inclement weather back in July, originally programmed as a prelude to CIAF as the first of its kind satellite event in the organisation’s 14-year history.

Urban BLAKtivation is bound to intensify the CBD with arts and culture-spanning sculptural installations, digital animations and projections, contemporary Indigenous dance performances from Miriki Performing Arts and collaboration between Mulungu Aboriginal Corporation and Miriki, traditional dancing by Gerib Sik (Torres Strait Islander Dancers), Deaf Indigenous Dance Group (DIDG) storytellers and poets Elverina Johnson and Trinity Clarke.

Urban BLAKtivation


According to CIAF’s Artistic Director Francoise Lane a special highlight of the evening will be the projection of an animated series of artworks from artists at Pormpuraaw Arts and Culture, Lockhart River Arts Indigenous Corporation, Yarrabah Arts and Cultural Precinct and Yalanji Arts.

Ms Lane said that in 2023, CIAF has lifted its programming to a new and unprecedented level and with future growth in mind by blending much-loved favourites with fresh newcomers that will capture the attention and imaginations of visitors and deliver a meaningful experience.

“Urban BLAKtivation is the first in a series of signature events CIAF is planning to roll out in future years.

“Urban BLAKtivation is the culmination of community collaboration and partnerships and working together to showcase our First Nations people, their creativity, talent, and cultural ways.

“We have worked with Cairns Regional Council, Renew Cairns, AFL Cape York House, Bonemap, Jam Pro Lighting, and all who are involved and showcasing their art, to make this event a special occasion on Saturday.  Please come along and enjoy,” Ms Lane said.

According to Ms Lane the title, Urban BLAKtivation comprises a portmanteau play on words incorporating the adjective Urban which relates and constitutes a city or town, BLAK, a word created by one of Australia’s leading Indigenous artists, Destiny Deacon, to reclaim a colonialist word to create a means of self-definition and expression (by taking the ‘c’ out of black) and the noun, Activation, to make capable of action.

Urban BLAKtivation is funded by Arts Queensland QASP funding and is supported by Cairns Regional Council, Renew Cairns, and Shields Street retailers.


Image credits:

(TOP) Stingray by Valmai Pollard, Gunggandji woman. Yarrabah Arts and Culture Centre. Digital animation by Bonemap.

(MIDDLE) Firehawk by Jones Holroyd, Pormpuraaw Arts & Cultural Centre