Australia’s premier Indigenous Art Fair signals vibrant return by Pip Miller 18 April 2014
hen the fifth annual Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) returns this year from 24 to 27 July, the city of Cairns will come alive in an artistic and cultural celebration of Queensland’s rich and diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. The three day program was officially launched recently and revealed a multi-dimensional line up of new and established events spanning art exhibitions, music, dance and fashion performances and cultural activities along with a dynamic art market featuring art centres and galleries from across Queensland and interstate. Minister for the Arts Ian Walker said 2014 was a significant milestone for CIAF with the event being managed independently by CIAF Limited and changing dates to be the first major art fair for the year. “The Queensland Government is looking forward to seeing CIAF continue to grow and to be a cultural tourism drawcard for the Cairns region, having generated more than $5.6 million in tourism expenditure to date,” he said. “Events such as this help the Queensland Government deliver on a number of its Arts for all Queenslanders Strategy priorities such as growing the state’s cultural
tourism.” CIAF’s chief executive officer, Alison Copley said the event is significant to Cairns as a destination and particularly the cultural heritage and livelihoods of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. “Since its establishment in 2009, CIAF has been the only art Maluilgal Dancers run through their dance with Minister for fair in Australia to Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts sell and showcase The Honourable Ian Walker in Cairns before launching this year’s CIAF program. All images supplied art by members of Queensland’s from across Queensland, as well Indigenous communities. Our as high end commercial galleries event is committed to providing an from Melbourne such as Alcaston ethical marketplace for the sale and Gallery. In a first for CIAF, two purchase of Indigenous art while galleries from will Sydney present nurturing the career development of works from established Queensland artists.” Indigenous artists; Martin Browne According to Ms Copley, CIAF’s Contemporary with Mavis credentials are impressive. To Ngallametta and Michael Reid date, attendance figures have Gallery with Christian Thompson,” exceeded 65,000 visitors, there has she said. been participation by more than Key Highlights of this year’s 600 Queensland Aboriginal and CIAF Program Torres Strait Islander artists and Thursday 24 – Sunday 27 July, performers and over $2.4 million 2014 generated in direct sales of art Cairns Indigenous Art Fair at works. Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal “This year will see CIAF Thursday 24 July, 2014: welcome 13 Indigenous Art Centres *Opening Night Party, 7pm.
Tickets will be available for this event. Friday 25, July 2014: 11.30 – 4pm FREE Saturday, 26 July, 2014: 10am – 6pm FREE Sunday, 27 July, 2014: 10am – 4pm FREE *Opening Night promises VIP and ticketed guests with a very special performance produced especially for CIAF featuring local talent Danny Bani, Merindi Schrieber, Troy and Trevallyn Brady, Rochelle Pitt-Watson and a song composed in celebration of CIAF performed by the Sounds of the AustraNesia Choir. Friday, 25 July, 2014: 7.30pm – 9.30pm Choreographed Fashion Performances at Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal by local Indigenous fashion designer, Grace Lillian Lee. Showcasing Indigenous designed prints and fabrics, designers and models. Note that Grace’s own collection will be featured in Vogue Italia and on the catwalks of this year’s Australian Indigenous Fashion Week along with fellow Cairns Indigenous designers, silk artist Eva Wanganeen and designer Shawn Edwards of Wild Barra. Friday 25 July – 9 August, 2014: Proper Solid by Steven Oliver at Jute Theatre, Centre of Contemporary Arts. Steven Oliver presents an inspirational future vision of the Republic of Australia where the country’s First People populate claimed lands and tall poppy Paul Toppy, is your everyday Aboriginal President of Australia. The problem is, Paul doesn’t know much about being Aboriginal. www.jute.com.au Saturday, 26 July, 2014: 5.30pm NYIINGKANAM: New One Opening of Aurukun Art Exhibition Opening with special Dance Performance at KickArts, Centre of Contemporary Arts. In keeping the culture of the Wik people alive by reinterpreting this historical footage (filmed in 1962 featuring five dance performances) into a
contemporary setting involving all age groups. It will also show elders of the community teaching the next generation how to make artifacts from a collection of raw materials. Even when the dances were filmed back in 1962 the narrator made mention of the fact that culture was being lost. The dances are stories of the five clans of Aurukun. Within the dances sculptures are used to identify the clan and the totem. The totemic stories are indicative of the interrelationship of man and country. Saturday, 26 July, 2014: 4.30pm – 10.30pm UMI Arts’ Big Talk One Fire in Fogarty Park. This is a free, all ages event. For more, www. umiarts.com.au Saturday, 26 July, 2014: 3pm at Cairns Regional Gallery, Official Opening of Solid! Queensland Contemporary Indigenous Sculpture – a partnership between
Cairns Regional Gallery and Cairns Indigenous Art Fair. Curated by Bruce McLean, Curator of Indigenous Australian Art, QAGOMA. This exhibition runs from 27 June – 27 July, 2014. Solid! Explores the diversity of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and the range of group and personal experiences provide an unrivalled richness of cultural expression. The artists and works presented provide a snapshot into the vibrancy of Indigenous art in, and of, Queensland and acknowledges the solid work of a number of the country’s most exciting established and early career artists. Other CIAF exhibitions of note at Cairns Regional Gallery include Segar Passi: Bakei 11 July – 21 September, 2014. 1960s to present. The first solo exhibition by senior Torres Strait Island artist Segar Passi. For these and other CIAF exhibitions, refer to CIAF website or visit Cairns Regional Gallery www.cairnsregionalgallery.com.au, KickArts Contemporary Arts www. kickarts.org.au, UMI Arts www. umiarts.com.au and Canopy Art Centre www.canopyartcentre.com