Traditional coconut leaf weaving is celebrated in signature exhibition at Cairns Indigenous Art Fair

CIAF-Coconut-Leaf-Weaving-ProjectThe intergenerational art and cultural traditions of coconut leaf weaving from the Torres Strait are the focus of CIAF’s signature exhibition, Mura Kaymelan Bei Aurem (Coconut Leaf Weaving Project), on display at Cairns Convention Centre from 13 to 16 July 2023.

Mura Kaymelan Bei Aurem comprises seven large, 3-D sculptural installations showcasing the skill of six master weavers from Zenadth Kes (Torres Strait).

According to CIAF’s Curatorial Associate Teho Ropeyarn, each artist will display their own hand-woven installation along with one collaborative sculpture. All artworks in the exhibition have been created from coconut palm leaf using traditional coconut leaf weaving practices.

According to Mr Ropeyarn, this is an important exhibition that shines the spotlight on a dying cultural art form. It is also the first time Torres Strait Islander master weavers have come together to create an exhibition and the large-scale impact is destined to showcase Torres Strait Islanders’ time-honoured and important intergenerational cultural tradition.

Mr Ropeyarn said Mura Kaymelan Bei Aurem exhibition at Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) 2023 showcases six traditional Zenadth Kes weavers – Aunty Mowe Billy, Yessie Mosby, Niki Mackie, Hans Ahwang, Aunty Emma Gebadi and George Kris, who harness their incredible depth of knowledge and skill to produce six individual works as well as collaborative group work.

“Each artist employs techniques within their work that show their own unique, tactile style, which they were taught by the passing of traditional weaving knowledge and tuition from their Elders,” said Mr Ropeyarn.

In an excerpt from an essay by Saibai Koedal Clan Woman and First Nations Curator, Peggy Lane, the artists apply their own “skills, processes, and aesthetics to produce large-scale works that challenge the notion of coconut palm weaving as a craft with each work exploring the experimentation of techniques – pushing, pulling, and blurring the boundaries of what weaving was once defined as.”

Visitors to the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) from Thursday 13 July to Sunday 16 July 2023 can view this exhibition and hear the artists talk about their work on Friday 14 July at 11.00am on the CIAF Art Market Main Stage at the Cairns Convention Centre.

Visitors are invited to join CIAF’s free public programming activities over the weekend (14 to 16 July) and learn from the artists as they demonstrate the art of traditional coconut leaf weaving. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Mura Kaymelan Bei Aurem (Coconut Leaf Weaving Project) – courtesy of CIAF