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Cairns Indigenous Art Fair announces recipients of BLOOM fashion and textile accelerator program

Phoebe Blogg -

Celebrated as one of Queensland's most popular Indigenous cantered events, the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) has announced the recipients of its BLOOM Fashion and Textile accelerator programs.

Created as an innovative program central to CIAF's four-year plan to promote the development of new, high-quality First Nations creative experiences, BLOOM strives to assist with boosting employment and economic participation of First Nations peoples throughout Queensland.

Lynelle Flinders of Sown in Time and Desert-Rain Magpie of Magpie Dreaming have been named the inaugural recipients of this year's BLOOM program.

With both recipients receiving business mentorship, skills training, and industry connections, this is an exciting opportunity for both creatives to propel their creative fashion and textile enterprises into a vibrant and sustainable future.

For the 15th anniversary of CIAF - which is set to be held from July 25 to 28, 2024 - both designers will also put forward a collection and partake in a presentation at CIAF.

Behind the scenes at CIAF 2023. (Image: Supplied)

According to CIAF's Artistic Director Francoise Lane, BLOOM aligns with the event's strategic plan and is the first program of its kind in the organisation's 15-year history.

"We created BLOOM for fashion design and textile artists to support the production of quality fashion garments and textiles that are retail market ready," CIAF artistic director Francoise Lane said.

"Launched in 2013 under the curation of Grace Lillian Lee of FNFD, CIAF's fashion performance essentially pioneered Australia's Indigenous fashion movement and is a much-loved highlight of our annual program."

For the selected designers, the program is not only an opportunity to grow and further their business but gain additional knowledge about the fashion industry and broader textile sector.

Designer Desert-Rain Magpie shared her gratification for the opportunity to participate in BLOOM.

"The inaugural BLOOM Textile Development mentorship is a chance to work with industry leaders and mentors to grow my professional artistic practice and learn about the world of textile design," Ms Magpie said.

"After attending CIAF for the first time in 2023, I was inspired by what I saw at the fashion shows and would love to learn more about the work behind the scenes.

"I am currently studying a Bachelor of Contemporary Indigenous Australian Art at Griffith University, so the knowledge I gain from this mentorship will be shared with my Indigenous cohort, and it will benefit many of us emerging artists interested in textile arts.

"I am very grateful to CIAF for this opportunity to work with First Nations organisations and develop work with them to a high professional standard."

A model on the runway at CIAF 2023. (Image: Supplied)

Recognised as a significant national cultural calendar event, CIAF presents the Art Fair, Art Market, Fashion Performance, Music in the Park, Symposium, and more. This year CIAF is expected to generate more than $7 million for the Queensland economy (based on the 2023 IER economic report).

In its 14-year history, CIAF has provided career pathways and economic, social, and emotional well-being outcomes to thousands of Indigenous artists, designers, and performers.

With the BLOOM program being the first of its kind for CIAF, this year is bound to spark the interest of Indigenous fashion enthusiasts, from far and wide.

In 2024, CIAF will take place from July 25 to 28 at the Cairns Convention Centre and selected venues.

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