Cultural riches shine spotlight on Queensland
Queensland’s vibrant Indigenous arts and culture will be on show at Cairns waterfront next month when Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) celebrates its ninth annual season.
Since its inception, CIAF has welcomed over 235,000 people to its various events, featured 1,300 artists and generated more than $6 million in art sales for Queensland’s Indigenous artists.
From the length and breadth of Queensland and the Torres Strait, 150 artists and 300 performers will converge upon Cairns for CIAF’s four-day program of exhibitions, performances and cultural sharing activities held at Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal as well as key arts and cultural hubs across the city.
CIAF 2018 kicks off on Thursday 12 July with its opening party and Art Awards before delivering an action-packed weekend of predominantly free events culminating in a closing ceremony from 3pm on Sunday 15 July.
In line with the world’s growing interest and knowledge of Indigenous arts and culture, CIAF 2018 is set to break previous year’s attendance and art sales records with its most multi-dimensional program to date spanning visual and performing arts, film, fashion, food and cultural sharing.
CIAF’s General Manager Vanessa Gillen said the event has enjoyed significant growth in recent years which is a trend she predicts will continue well into its second decade.
“Over the last three years we have witnessed significant growth from around 18,000 visitors in 2014 to approximately 50,000 visitors each year since.
“Utilising valuable research and the benefit of experience we have drawn from the state’s plethora of talent, both emerging and established, traditional and contemporary, to create an all-inclusive event that shines the spotlight on Queensland’s cultural riches while plugging into its drive for cultural tourism.
“CIAF is at a stage where its reputation precedes it. All of a sudden, we have people and organisations coming to us, asking to share our limelight. This year we have welcomed several new corporate partners while providing a vibrant platform for peak Indigenous arts organisations like Screen Australia and APRA to meet and discuss issues impacting their industry’s future.
“The beauty of CIAF is in its broad appeal and single ability to embrace people from many cultures. Ours is an event that provides a harmonious environment resonating with goodwill and cultural integrity. We take pride in offering a joyful, sharing experience that hits as many high notes for locals and visitors as it does for the world’s most discerning Indigenous art collectors and curators,” Ms Gillen said.
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair had become a popular fixture on the Tropical North Queensland events calendar.
"This event is a vibrant cultural celebration of Queensland's rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and has grown significantly over the past nine years," Ms Jones said.
"This year, tens of thousands of people are expected to attend the visual art, music, film, theatre and dance event, providing a welcome boost to the local economy and strengthening community pride.
"Last year's event drew almost 27,000 people, creating more than 22,000 direct visitor nights for Queensland, which generated $4.29 million for the local economy."
Commenting on the tourism value of CIAF from a regional perspective, Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Pip Close said Indigenous culture was the third tourism pillar of Tropical North Queensland.
“CIAF has helped raised the profile of the region as the only place where you can experience both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture,” she said.