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14 - 23 August 2020


Russell Beer & Peggy Kasabad- Lane. Photograph Blueclick Photography

Ports North backs new award to capture Queensland’s Indigenous artists’ photographic excellence

1 December 2017

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) will expand its annual art awards in 2018 to recognise the powerful medium of photography through a new $5000 prize backed by major partner, Ports North.

This year’s inaugural awards comprised five judging categories (Emerging, Innovation, Art Centre, Premier’s Award for Excellence and People’s Choice) that rewarded Queensland’s best and brightest Indigenous artists who shared in a prize pool of $45,000.

In adding the Ports North photographic award to next year’s CIAF Art Awards, there will be even more opportunities for Queensland’s Indigenous artists to shine through an increased prize cache of $50,000.

Ports North Chairman Russell Beer said the decision to support an additional CIAF art award built on a strong partnership which has developed over the years with Ports North’s Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal hosting the event.

“Ports North and CIAF have a winning partnership, as recognised at the Queensland Premier’s Reconciliation Awards this year, and we as an organisation are committed to helping grow this signature event and promote Indigenous art and culture.

“Photography is a fascinating mirror on the world – capturing real moments in time that add to our historical and social profile. This award is an exciting opportunity and we look forward to seeing what Indigenous photography talent will bring to CIAF 2018.”

CIAF’s artistic director Janina Harding said photography is a medium that can give the artist agency to show the complexity of our culture and life experience in a minimalist way. 

“We are excited at the prospect of adding photography to the list of award categories that will effectively broaden the scope of artworks submitted for the curated art exhibition in 2018 that will take their cue from the theme “Country” an artistic response to what it means to be on homeland.

According to Ms Harding, the awards were introduced to support and grow professional development of the state’s talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

“It is my opinion that over time, the CIAF Art Awards will brighten the spotlight on the vibrant identity of Queensland’s Indigenous art movement while inspiring artists to reach even higher in their practice,” she said.

About CIAF Art Awards

In 2018 the awards categories are:

Premier’s Award for Excellence sponsored by Queensland Government ($15,000)

Photography Award sponsored by Ports North ($5,000)

Emerging Artist Award sponsored by Marsh Property ($5000 prize)

Award for Innovation sponsored by Copyright Agency, Viscopy ($10,000 prize),

Art Centre Award, sponsored by Cairns Regional Council ($10,000 prize).

People’s Choice sponsored by Fibre Optics NQ ($5000)


No application process or fee required to enter, with all works on display within the art fair space, eligible for selection. 

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 are not eligible for the awards.

The judging panel comprises three judges, selected annually, by CIAF Board and management.

The judging of works will take place on Wednesday 11 July, 2018 with a formal presentation (with the exception of the People’s Choice award announced at the close of CIAF on Sunday 15 July) the following evening at CIAF’s Opening night party. 



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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