Queensland’s First Nations artists respond to unprecedented events by drawing on their tradition of innovation in the arts

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair 2019 - photo by Kerry Trapnell PhotographyThe annual Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) will continue to support Queensland artists and communities by exploring a new and interactive, digital festival platform in 2020.

CIAF Chair Tom Mosby said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from Queensland are recognised for outstanding works that respect cultural traditions while using imagination to counter contemporary contexts.

“Doing things in a different way is nothing new to our artists!” said Tom Mosby. “While we acknowledge that these are challenging times, we see this as an opportunity to explore digital innovation in response to the circumstances currently facing the Australian art community.”

“It is our intention to present CIAF 2020 through an online platform enabling our communities, friends and supporters to present and experience the vibrant and unique Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture of this region. This could include webinar presentations, online conversations and commentary,” said Mr Mosby.

Queensland Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch welcomed the move and congratulated CIAF on an imaginative and exciting solution to continue Australia’s premier celebration of First Nations’ art and culture.

“These are challenging times for everyone, particularly the arts and cultural sector, and it’s exciting to see the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair taking innovative action to ensure it can continue to showcase and promote Queensland’s unique First Nations art and culture, potentially to an even greater worldwide audience,” said Minister Enoch.

CIAF’s Artistic Director Janina Harding said that CIAF will do all it can to partner with communities, curators and artists while acknowledging the remoteness of many communities and the enforced period of isolation that will be experienced.

“We will provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities with help, guidance and the means required, to offer CIAF’s wider community of friends and supporters, an intimate digital insight into Country and culture,” said Ms Harding.

“An online presence will make for a much bigger global stage and audience providing long term benefits to Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and the CIAF brand beyond what we are currently experiencing.”

“The reality of a virtual CIAF 2020 is exciting when you consider we will present to the world, 600 artists from across the entire state of Queensland and the Torres Strait Islands,” added Ms Harding.

The 11th iteration of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair is set to take place in July 2020. For more information, visit: www.ciaf.com.au for details.

Image: Cairns Indigenous Art Fair 2019 – photo by Kerry Trapnell Photography

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