The 13th edition of Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) wrapped on Sunday afternoon with cultural dance displays and a last-minute rush of art sales following a stunning five-day festival celebrating the dynamic arts and culture movement of Queensland’s First Peoples.
After a two-year COVID hiatus, the multi-arts program, replete with music, dance, fashion, comedy, workshops, and more, was welcomed back by the people who turned out in droves, cumulatively cracking the 50,000-visitor record through the doors of the Cairns Convention Centre and satellite venues.
Rounding out CIAF’s $50,000 awards cache for 2022, was Fibre Optics NQ People’s Choice winner, Torres Strait Island artist Lara Fuiji from Badu Art Centre securing $5000 for her artwork entitled Kazil Imaik (Child is born).
CIAF Marketing and Communications Manager, Jack Wilkie-Jans said among all the events in this year’s program, he cited the Symposium, Art Fair and We are Masters of Country fashion performance – as memorable highlights.
According to Mr Wilkie-Jans, from start to finish, CIAF 2022 proved there is an increasingly strong appetite for immersive First Peoples arts and culture experiences. “What we have here in Queensland is so distinct from other states and territories because in terms of diversity we span both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures,” he said.
“With so much new and exciting work coming through, the Art Fair comprising almost 300 art works was one of the best ever and with exhibitors like Simone Arnol, Bernard Singleton, Teho Ropeyarn and Wujal Wujal’s Bana Yirriji Art Centre literally selling every piece of artwork on their stand – well, you don’t get much better than that,” said Mr Wilkie-Jans.
Mr Wilkie-Jans said in terms of logistics and statistics, this year’s event ticked every box. “While sales figures and visitor data are important ways of measuring an event’s success, CIAF is a dynamic and multi-dimensional platform that provides a lot more in terms of promotion and pathway opportunities for emerging and established artists,” he said.
“CIAF is truly special in the way it draws people together – from community catching up with family and friends to visitors meeting and talking with artists and perhaps taking home their very first piece of art,” said Mr Wilkie-Jans.
For CIAF’s General Manager Darrell Harris this year’s highlights were many, not the least of which was the smooth transition from the event’s previous Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal hub into new and spacious surrounds of Cairns Convention Centre that provided a comfortable, user-friendly experience for both exhibitors and visitors alike.
“The team at Cairns Convention Centre did a wonderful job and together we will work towards continually lifting the bar in providing a world-class, quintessentially Queensland, art and culture First Peoples experience in years to come,” he said.
“I would also like to thank our team for all their hard work and commitment to CIAF and our resigning Artistic Director, Janina Harding who sadly leaves the organisation after curating and delivering eight exceptional events.”
“Janina will be sadly missed by everyone and from the heart of our team we wish her well in the future,” said Mr Harris.
The 14th edition of Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) will return in 2023 running Wednesday 5 to Sunday 9 July. For more information, visit: www.ciaf.com.au for details.
Image: A Performer at the 2022 CIAF Closing Ceremony – photo by Blueclick Photography