11 July 2023

Cape artists on display at Cairns Indigenous Art Fair opening

| Sarah Martin
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Aurukun artist Keith Wikmunea and daughter Devena are both exhibiting at CIAF.

Aurukun artist Keith Wikmunea and daughter Devena are both exhibiting at CIAF.

THE work of 15 Aurukun artists, including the event’s best-selling female artist, will be showcased among that of the 900 performers and exhibitors at the annual Cairns Indigenous Art Fair this week.

The four-day celebration of Indigenous arts and culture is one of the country’s premier arts events.

Aurukun arts centre manager Gabe Waterman will travel to Cairns with seven of the artists for CIAF, which launches at the Cairns Convention Centre on Thursday night.

“The Ku’ (camp dog) carvings are always popular with art lovers, but this year the carvings will be dominated by an epic Pangka (kangaroo) by Vernon Marbendinar from the Apalech clan,” Mr Waterman said.

“Established artist Vera Koomeeta, also from the Apalech clan, will be exhibiting large paintings depicting her country around the Knox River.

“Senior Winchanam artist Janet Koongotema will be attending her first solo exhibition at CIAF after becoming a finalist in the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards and the Wynne Prize this year,” Mr Waterman said.

“Janet is now represented by the Red Dot Gallery in Singapore who have partnered with Dreamcoat Paint Studio and Wik and Kugu Arts Centre for this exhibition.

“We have more female artists represented this year at CIAF, including Devena Wikmunea and Nita Yunkaporta, who was the highest selling female artist at CIAF last year.”

Devena’s works at CIAF will be complemented by the carvings of her father Keith Wikmunea, also a finalist in the Telstra art awards.

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