Fresh leadership launches new decade for Cairns Indigenous Art Fair

CIAF Darrell Harris and Janina HardingThe Board of Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) has announced the appointment of Mr Darrell Harris to the position of General Manager.

An experienced and respected practitioner committed to lifting the profile of Queensland’s Indigenous arts and culture, Mr Harris will lead CIAF into a new decade when he commences with the organisation this week. A “Mitakoodi” man, he has lived in North Queensland all his life and worked in the Arts industry for the past 12 years; in roles that included Executive Officer of UMI Arts and more recently, Manager of Yarrabah Arts and Cultural Precinct.

Mr Harris brings a wealth of experience and understanding of the region’s Indigenous arts scape along with a solid commitment to CIAF – having been involved with the Art Fair since inception and throughout its 10-year history. In his career, he has worked firsthand with artists and managers throughout the Indigenous Arts Centre Alliance (IACA) and independent networks.

In his new leadership role, Mr Harris is committed to keeping CIAF and FNQ Indigenous Arts at the forefront as both a national and global trend setter.

“To do this, we need to shore up those important relationships with artists, arts centres and community on a local and national level and only then will we be ready to present CIAF to the world as an artistic and cultural showcase event of Queensland’s First Peoples spanning all of the arts has been fundamental to the meaning and inclusiveness of CIAF as a meeting place, a market place and a community movement,” he said.

“Even more importantly, my role will be to ensure we boost visitation to CIAF for visitors to truly experience what our Indigenous people have to offer in what is Queensland’s creative hub for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture,” said Mr Harris.

CIAF’s Artistic Director Janina Harding said she welcomes Mr Harris’ appointment and looks forward to working in close collaboration with him to fulfil CIAF’s full potential. “Darrell’s insights and relationships with community and artists, along with his brand of strong leadership, will be invaluable in this next chapter of CIAF’s future,” said Ms Harding.

A celebration of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ distinctive art and cultures, CIAF will be held over five days in July 2020 with a program incorporating music, dance, art, talks, workshops and events that invites visitors to interact with artists while gaining a deeper understanding of Tropical North Queensland’s unique cultural heritage and sense of place.

In its 11th year the theme Climate Change will provide festival goers with a focus on the environment and its preservation from a First Peoples’ point of view. “Climate change is a very real issue to First Peoples whose very existence relies on land, waters and connection to country. “We are therefore anticipating an insightful collective response from artists,” said Ms Harding.

The 2020 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair runs 8 – 12 July. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Darrell Harris and Janina Harding (supplied)