26 April 2024

Cape and Torres artists celebrated as CIAF launches 15th anniversary program

| Cape York Weekly
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Fashion designer Irene Robinson, CIAF artistic director Francoise Lane and CIAF curatorial associate Teho Ropeyarn celebrate the launch of the annual art fair’s 15th season as they inspect artwork from Aurukun’s Wik and Kugu Art Centre. Photo: Supplied.

The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) will celebrate an extraordinary journey of evolution and the skill of Cape York and Torres Strait artists when the event marks its 15th anniversary in July.

The event will embrace a theme of Country Speaking and run from 25-28 July, and CIAF artistic director Francoise Lane said the 2024 event was shaping up as a testament to Queensland’s First Nations arts and culture industry, and its place on the world stage.

“From its humble beginnings as an art fair, CIAF has evolved into a multifaceted celebration of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts, culture, and fashion, featuring artists, performers, and creatives from the Torres Strait, Cape York, and Gulf communities in the north, out to western communities and down to the south-east corner,” Ms Lane said.

READ ALSO Pormpuraaw and Aurukun celebrate with major awards at CIAF

Organisers are expecting more than 30,000 individual visitors to experience CIAF over the four-day celebration of Indigenous art, a spike of more than 10 per cent on the 2023 event.

Ms Lane said 300 or more works were anticipated to be included in the Art Fair exhibition at the Cairns Convention Centre, adding artists had responded positively to the selection of Country Speaking as a theme.

“Works will be chosen on their artistic merit and response to this year’s Country Speaking theme,” she explained.

“This is an opportunity for artists to explore their spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental relationship to the Country, a strong First Nations concept embodying 65,000 years of deep connection to the land, waters, skies, and seas.

“Country speaks; it always has and always will; the question is, are we listening?”

READ ALSO CIAF program CATAPULTs Torres Strait artist into the big league

Comprising more than 20 free and ticketed events, CIAF’s program highlights will include the opening night party, art fair, art market and public program of workshops, ghost net weaving, printmaking, digital drawing masterclasses and children’s activities.

Ms Lane said excitement was growing following the 2024 program launch on 15 April, which was supported visually by works from Aurukun artists from the Wik and Kugu Art Centre.

“CIAF has become a platform for catapulting the careers of artists, arts workers, and performers,” she said.

“It is a space to discover new talent and celebrate established ones.”

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