2015 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair

Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre 'Bagu' 2015Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) will wow audiences this year, bringing the best Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artwork together with the world’s leading collectors and curators from 31 July to 2 August 2015.

“CIAF will be embracing all creative outlets, from cabaret and comedy to screen and fashion, to give a complete view of Indigenous culture,” says CIAF Artistic Director Janina Harding. “The Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal will become a hub of activity for CIAF with a spectacular line-up of Indigenous dance performances, children’s activities including art classes and ghost net workshops, fantastic pop-up food stores and cafes, and the exciting Art Market along the waterfront.”

An expanded entertainment program, headlined by ARIA award-winning performers Christine Anu and Archie Roach OAM, will offer a stunning mix of dance, song, theatre, film, fashion and food in and around the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal. Six other venues will also host art exhibitions and events including Bungaree’s Farm – which has just won the top National Award at the 2015 Museums and Galleries National Awards (MAGNAs) and will be shown in the Tanks Arts Centre.

For the first time the Art Fair is curated by new Artistic Director Janina Harding in collaboration with curator, writer and ABC Art + Soul creator Hetti Perkins, to showcase the finest Indigenous art from across the state.

Queensland Indigenous art has its own distinct aesthetic, influenced by a vast and varied landscape, from tropical rainforest, the islands of the Torres Strait and the rugged terrain of Cape York. Bright colours, unique ghost net sculptures – a whole genre of art which uses discarded fishing nets for weaving – as well as pottery, painting and many other art forms characteristic to the region will feature at CIAF.

In another first, and in a direct response to requests from previous attendees, CIAF’s new management team will also bring collectors and curators to Yarrabah Arts & Cultural Centre to meet local artists at work. The group will include visitors from the Museums of the American Indian, Smithsonian Museum, Kluge Ruhe Aboriginal Art Gallery from the University of Virginia, The Australian National Maritime Museum and many major private collectors. No other Indigenous Art Fair in Australia offers this kind of connection.

Christine Anu will kick CIAF off on a high note at the popular Opening Night Party on Thursday 30 July. The inaugural CIAF Art Market provides a platform for Indigenous art, craft and merchandise in Terminal 2, providing a chance for the public to buy work directly from up-and-coming artists.

A CIAF highlight, CIAF’s Indigenous fashion performance, returns this year as Birrimbi Dulgu Bajal (Sea and Rainforest Dreaming), in a larger format, to accommodate an ever-increasing appetite for locally sourced, authentic and beautiful pieces from Queensland Indigenous designers.

Award winning Bungaree’s Farm – a multi-media exhibition curated by Djon Mundine OAM, has been in-residence at the Tanks Arts Centre since late May. Spanning contemporary Indigenous audio, video, performance and screen-based art, the exhibition explores the legacy of Bungaree, the first Aboriginal person in Australia to be granted land by authorities but who was ultimately a man caught between two worlds.

Malthouse Theatre’s nationally acclaimed Blak Cabaret hits the stage at Tanks Arts Centre from Tuesday 28 July through Friday 31 July as part of CIAF, turning the history of colonial Australia on its head in a raucously funny and bitingly satirical show.

Janina Harding said the 2015 program would bring together artistic, social and cultural experiences, while also creating vital economic opportunities for Queensland artists. “We have a long term strategy to forge career pathways for artists and this will be an important part of CIAF 2O15, involving workshops and networking opportunities for artists to progress from the Art Market, to the Art Fair,” said Harding.

The 2015 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair runs 31 July to 2 August. For more information, visit: www.ciaf.com.au for details.

Image: Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre, Bagu 2015 mixed media dimensions variable