North Queensland’s largest celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture will return in 2017, with tickets to the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) released today.
The Fair, which last year welcomed 51,000 visitors and which has earned more than $5 million in art sales for Queensland’s Indigenous artists since 2009, encompasses visual art, dance, music, theatre, fashion and more.
CIAF 2017 will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Mabo decision with a new body of work created by Eddie’s daughter, Gail Mabo. This family undercurrent runs throughout the event too, with Family Values the theme of this year’s Fair.
CIAF’s Artistic Director, Janina Harding, said the theme would be used to inspire works on display during the Fair.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families are complex, systems-based units, sharing and passing knowledge from generation to generation,” said Janina.
“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.”
Here is what not to miss at the Fair if you love…
- ART: Art pieces fitting the Family Values theme will be on display at the Art Fair in Cairns’ Cruise Liner Terminal, and photographic work by Cairns and Woorabinda community youth mentored by Woorabinda artist, Nickeema Williams, will be showcased at the Tanks Arts Centre.
- THEATRE: Queensland Theatre Company will premiere its new production, My Name is Jimi, at the Cairns Centre of Contemporary Arts. The performance tells the story of, and features, Torres Strait Islander stage and screen actor Jimi Bani.
- FASHION: The 2017 CIAF Fashion Performance is titled WADAN, meaning future, and will have two shows at the Tanks Arts Centre on Friday, 14 July. Indigenous textile and fashion design has been a growing focus at the Fair over the past four years, curated by Grace Lillian Lee and choreographed by Fiona Wirrer-George.
- DANCE: A project headed by the National Gallery of Victoria this year will enable artists to create dance machines for show and sale at the CIAF. Dance machines are handheld mechanical objects, such as clappers, which enhance Torres Strait Islander dance performances along with other traditional elements such as headdresses.
- MARKETS & MAKERS: This year’s CIAF market has been expanded to a three-day event at a waterfront pavilion next to Shed 3. Lovers and creators of art, craft and clothing will find a great outlet to sell or buy the best Indigenous designs from around Queensland.
“When compared to other Australian Indigenous art fairs and festivals, there is nothing else like CIAF,” said Janina.
“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.”
CIAF Chair, Tom Mosby, said the Fair was an important opportunity and platform for artists from across the State.
“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,” Tom said.
Celebrate the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair at various locations across Cairns from 13-16 July. For exhibitor expressions of interest, visit their website. For ticketing information, visit the program of events.