Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) wrapped up its tenth anniversary over the weekend after a five-day Art Fair and Market with art, music, storytelling, workshops and other special events.
The marathon celebration culminated in the coming together of cultural dance groups performing for visitors to the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal’s gardens.
The People’s Choice CIAF Art Award was also announced, with Torres Strait Islander artist Daniel O’Shane from Canopy Arts taking out the people’s vote and winning the top prize of $5,000 for his artwork titled Meuram and Zogo Ni Pat.
Since the awards began in 2017, this is the second time Mr O’Shane has taken out the top spot, winning both this year and in 2017.
Key themes of this year’s fair included intergenerational storytelling, Indigenous language and culture, keeping with this year’s UN International Year of Indigenous Languages.
CIAF Artistic Director Janina Harding said the Symposium, Buwal-barra … Messenger. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. was one of the fair’s highlights, taking her by surprise with its success.
“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,” Ms Harding said.
“What we have here in Queensland is so distinct in terms of diversity, spanning both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, it’s really very exciting with lots of new work coming through.”
Ms Harding also said with confidence that this year’s fair was the best ever, with artists like Naomi Hobson selling every one of her artworks at her stand during the fair’s opening night.
CIAF General Manager Vanessa Gillen echoed similar sentiments, saying this year’s event ticked all the boxes.
“CIAF is a dynamic platform that provides so much more in terms of cultural recognition and pathway opportunities for both emerging and established artists,” Ms Gillen said.
During the event, CIAF and Cairns Airport announced the launch of a five-year commissioning project for Queensland’s Indigenous artists, and Ms Gillen said this is a “prime example” of CIAF’s platform to opportunity.
“What CIAF is also committed to and in my opinion, does really well, is bring people together – whether it’s community catching up or visitors taking time to meet the artists and performers and share stories,” Ms Gillen said.
The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair will return next year from July 8-12.