With eyes set firmly on future growth and a global stage, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF), Queensland’s most significant First Nations’ cultural celebration has launched its biggest and most culturally immersive program to be delivered across four days from Thursday 13 July to Sunday 16 July 2023.
In a first for CIAF, the programming has been extended with Urban BLAKtivation – a lively and free, First Nations event that will warm up the CBD with arts and culture spanning live music, dance, storytelling, and poetry recitals between 4.30pm and 8.00pm.
For its 14th season, CIAF’s program highlights include an exhibition of large-scale, hand-woven artefacts, a decade anniversary fashion performance, a new look, two-day symposium, outdoor music festival with national, headline acts, more than 300 pieces of visual art showcasing Queensland’s most accomplished and collectible Indigenous artists, a public program of cross-cultural sharing, master classes, children’s art, and craft hub and more.
In accord with CIAF’s annual tradition, the collective, artistic response for 2023 will be shaped by the Artistic Director Francoise Lane’s curatorial theme: Weaving our Future: Claiming our Sovereignty.
Crafted to both inspire and harness the sentiments of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists at a time in which a First Nations voice is being proposed to drive change across Australia, Ms Lane said the theme will provide a rich, cultural thread that connects and resonates throughout the Art Fair, Coconut Leaf Project, Woven Fashion Performance and Symposium.
“Art is a form of expression that raises the breadth of experiences, issues, and commentary and when positioned within the context of CIAF, becomes a meeting place for truth telling, knowledge sharing and cultural exchange – an intrinsic representation and artistic expression of two very distinct and diverse cultures – past, present, and future,” said Ms Lane.
According to Ms Lane, CIAF 2023 lifts programming to a new and unprecedented level and with future growth in mind blends much-loved favourites with fresh newcomers that will capture the attention and imaginations of visitors and deliver a meaningful experience.
“Urban BLAKtivation is just the first in a series of signature events CIAF is planning to roll out in future years,” said Ms Lane.
Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said CIAF 2023 would be an incredible showcase and celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island art and culture from across Queensland.
“This year’s ambitious and exciting program is set to further strengthen CIAF’s reputation for rich and diverse cultural experiences that drive cultural tourism, reinforces its important role in connecting artists to markets, and advances the journey towards a more inclusive future,” said Minister Enoch.
“The Queensland Government has supported CIAF from the beginning and recently announced a $1.2 million uplift over four years, to help the festival realise its growth ambitions ahead of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
“New project and industry placement funding of $260,000 is also supporting CIAF 2023 program highlights: Coconut Leaf Project celebrating Torres Strait Islander craft and weaving, and family friendly event Urban BLAKtivation, and enabling the employment and skills development of two First Nations arts workers within CIAF.”
“The record attendance and art sales achieved at CIAF 2022 clearly shows the strong demand for and quality of First Nation arts in Queensland, and I look forward to CIAF’s continued success in 2023,” said Minister Enoch.
Tickets to a range of exciting CIAF events are now on sale at the new CIAF ticketing hub, including the Opening Night Party at Cairns Convention Centre, 10th anniversary Fashion Performance at Tanks Arts Centre and a special CIAF music concert at Munro Martin Parklands.
The 2023 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) takes place across Cairns from 13 – 16 July. For more information, visit: www.ciaf.com.au for details.
Image: Kawadji Wilmpa Dancers from Lockhart River at the CIAF Art Fair 2022 – photo by Blueclick Photography