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  • Tamara Sheward

    TropicNow writer

    Email Tamara Sheward

    Eyes of the art world on Cairns as CIAF releases jam-packed program

    With a just-released program crammed with vibrant art, dance, music, fashion and theatre events, this year’s Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) is shaping up to be huge.

    Now in its eighth year, the celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture has proven to be one of Cairns’ biggest cultural drawcards, attracting a record 51,000 people to its signature art fair and associated events last year.

    The art fair is an accessible, ethical point of sale for more than 150 ATSI artists from the region, including some of the most isolated communities of Cape York and the Torres Strait.

    The fair attracts art lovers and collectors from across the world for its high quality visual art, crafts and clothing.

    In addition to the art fair, CIAF boasts numerous performances, workshops, forums and other events open to the public.

    But you’ve got to be quick: though CIAF kicks off in July, tickets for its opening night party and WANDAN fashion performance were released today, and they’re sure to be snapped up quickly. Get yours here.

    This year’s CIAF will explore the theme ‘Family Values’, taking its cue from ATSI peoples’ connection to country and family.

    “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families are complex, systems-based units, sharing and passing knowledge from generation to generation”, CIAF’s Artistic Director, Janina Harding, said.

    “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.”

    Ms Harding called CIAF the quintessential celebration of Queensland’s Indigenous art.

    “When compared to other Australian Indigenous art fairs and festivals, there is nothing else like CIAF.

    “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.”

    This year’s program is jam-packed with experiences, events and intimate performances, including:

    • Opening night party, Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal July 13
    • CIAF art fair, Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal, July 14-16
    • WANDAN fashion performance, Tanks, July 14
    • World premiere of My Name is Jimi, a new play by Queensland theatre starring and exploring the life of Torres Strait Islander stage and screen actor, Jimi Bani, Cairns Centre of Contemporary Arts, July 12
    • Big Talk One Fire Festival, a live music concert featuring regional musicians and performers hosted by UMI Arts, Fogarty Park, July 15
    • Family Values photographic exhibition, a curated collection of works by youth in the Cairns and Woorabinda communities, mentored by Woorabinda artist Nickeema Williams, Tanks, opening night July 14

    CIAF runs at various venues across the city from July 13-16. See the CIAF website for more information, or download the CIAF smartphone app for the full experience.