Local artists on display at the 2020 Cairns Indigenous Arts Fair


Karlie Brady


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Artist at Work: Yalanji artist and Vice Chair of BBNAC, Andrew Gibson. Image: IACA (C) Edwina Circuit.
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Eight local artists from Bamanga Bubu Ngadimunku Aboriginal Corporation’s Yalanji Arts, in the Mossman Gorge Community, will feature in this year’s Cairns Indigenous Arts Fair (CIAF) which kicks off tonight 14 August from 6:00pm.

The annual art fair shines a light on Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture over 10 days.

In 2020, CIAF has moved from a physical display to a digital online platform, ensuring the show goes on during COVID-19 restrictions.

CIAF 2020: The Cultural Evolution, comprises of live stream presentations, performances, webinars, cultural yarns, community spotlights, and virtual gallery exhibitions.

Yalanji artist and Vice Chair of BBNAC, Andrew Gibson, said the eight participating local artists have produced a range of works including paintings, ceramics, fabrics and weaving.

“CIAF always offers artists an opportunity to tell our stories to the broader world and keep alive our history and culture,” he said.

“The artists’ work together to inspire and encourage each other’s vision of how to represent our stories, and this collaboration is one of the highlights of the process,” he said.

From tonight’s opening ceremony program of presentations and musical performances until the finale concert at 3:00pm on Sunday 23 August, audiences can engage in more than 40 individual events and activities showcasing the talent of some 300 Indigenous artists.

CIAF’s Artistic Director Janina Harding said the event plays an integral role in cultural sharing and promoting a better understanding with the wider community.

Ms Harding added the organisation has worked hard while securing the expertise of digital specialists and content producers to bring this year’s program to life in such a colourful and engaging way.

“For CIAF as an organisation, there was never a question to cancel this year’s event in response to the global pandemic.

“It was more a case of, what can we do to make sure this year’s event proceeds as planned and continues supporting artists and communities.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said CIAF 2020 will celebrate and share the unique Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in Queensland with a global audience.

“Now in its 11th year, CIAF sets up an ethical marketplace for artists and buyers, showcasing new work and providing career pathways for emerging visual and performing artists,” Minister Enoch said.

“This year’s innovative program is an opportunity to explore virtual galleries and exhibitions, performances, talks, fashion and storytelling from the vibrant and diverse First Nations communities in Queensland.”

CIAF 2020 goes live at on the 14 August from 6:00pm via the CIAF website. Make sure to check out the works from the local Yalanji artists.

Yalanji Arts is a division of Bamanga Bubu Ngadimunku Aboriginal Corporation of the Mossman Gorge Community, and provides a studio, materials, workshops and professional development opportunities for Yalanji artists from both within the community and the Douglas Shire.

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