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Opening Night Celebrations. photo: Lovegreen Photography

CIAF 2019 

CIAF Wraps Up 10th Anniversary 

People spoke with their feet last week with sold out events throughout the city’s artistic and cultural hubs and huge numbers throughout the Art Fair and Market for Cairns Indigenous Art Fair’s 10th anniversary.

After five days of art, music, dance, fashion, comedy, workshops, storytelling, special events and more, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair’s (CIAF) wrapped up its 10th program with a convergence of cultural dance troupes performing for visitors in the gardens of Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal and the announcement of this year’s People’s Choice Award.

Rounding out CIAF’s $50,000 awards cache, Torres Strait Islander artist, Daniel O’Shane, Canopy Arts, won the people’s vote and a prize of $5000 for artwork entitled Meuram and Zogo Ni Pat (vinyl cut, hand-wiped) sponsored and presented by Gillian Mailman, the Gillian Mailman Group of Companies. This is the second time in the three-year history of the awards that Mr O’Shane’s artwork has resonated with the public, securing the same award in 2017.

In keeping with the UN’s International Year of Traditional Language, intergenerational storytelling, Indigenous language and culture were key themes of this year’s iteration.

CIAF Artistic Director, Janina Harding said among all the events in this year’s program, she cited the Symposium, Buwal-barra…Messenger. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. fashion performance and Cultural Heights – A legacy of traditional language and song – as memorable highlights.

According to Ms Harding, it was the Symposium that really took her by surprise in terms of successes.

“The day went really well, we had great speakers and both interesting and insightful exchanges with delegates exploring the nuances and complexities of Queensland’s Indigenous art movement.

“What we have here in Queensland is so distinct in terms of diversity, spanning both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, is really very exciting with lots of new work coming through.

“I can confidently say that our Art Fair was the best ever and with exhibitors like Naomi Hobson literally selling every piece of artwork on her stand on opening night – well, you don’t get much better than that,” Ms Harding said.

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) General Manager Vanessa Gillen said in terms of numbers and sales, this year’s event ticked every box.

“While measurable outcomes are testament to the success of any event, CIAF is a dynamic platform that provides so much more in terms of cultural recognition and pathway opportunities for both emerging and established artists.  Friday’s joint announcement with Cairns Airport to launch a five-year commissioning project for Queensland’s Indigenous artists is a prime example.

“What CIAF is also committed to and in my opinion, does really well, is bring people together - whether its community catching up or visitors taking time to meet the artists and performers and share stories,” Ms Gillen said.

For Ms Gillen, there were many highpoints over the weekend including the popularity of Friday night’s Blak Comedy at Tanks Arts Centre that was packaged to festival-goers as a double bill with the fashion.

“Friday’s atmosphere at Tanks was electric, what with the Thancoupie opening, fashion, the Embrace light projections and the comedy,  its success as a satellite hub will be something that is definitely considered when programming next year,” Ms Gillen said.

CIAF 2019 Art Awards

Congratulations to the CIAF 2019 Art Award winners:

The Cairns Airport Innovation Award - Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre.

Westpac Emerging Artist Award - Tamika Grant-Iramu, Onespace Gallery for Carving memories: propagation by roots 2019.

Premier's Award for Excellence (Queensland Government) - Janet Fieldhouse, Vivien Anderson Gallery.

Cairns Regional Council Art Centre Award - HopeVale Arts & Cultural Centre.

Ports North 3D & Sculpture Award ​- Syd Bruce Shortjoe, Pormpuraaw Arts & Cultural Centre for Tiger Prawn 2019 ghostnet sculpture.

Gillian Mailman Group of Companies People's Choice Award in honour of Waal Waal Ngallametta - Daniel O’Shane, Meuram and Zogo Ni Pat, vinylcut, hand-wiped.

Read more about the awards here and to view the winning artwork click here.

View the CIAF 2019 photo gallery here!

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Donate now to build a stronger Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts industry!

Our donors and partners assist CIAF in attracting and nurturing national and international recognition of the vital cultural contribution of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

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. 
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