Attendance level underscores Indigenous art fair’s social and economic impact

A new report on the performance of the 2023 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair unpacks its significance, and a new theme is announced for 2024.
CIAF. A woman in a Vote 'Yes' T-shirt, grey denim jacket and darker grey trousers, stands in front of an orange and white painting and points at a blue painting, while a man with his back to us films her on his phone camera.

This year’s Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) welcomed over 50,000 attendees and injected nearly $7.6 million into the Cairns economy, reveals a new independent research report. These findings not only show the significance of the event, now in its 14th year, but also that economic and social benefits are not mutually exclusive.

CIAF’s Artistic Director, multidisciplinary artist and Torres Strait Islander woman, Francoise Lane says the art fair is not only about selling works and generating income, but also about catering to the community and the Fair’s visitors.

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Celina Lei is an arts writer and editor at ArtsHub. She acquired her M.A in Art, Law and Business in New York with a B.A. in Art History and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne. She has previously worked across global art hubs in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York in both the commercial art sector and art criticism. Most recently she took part in drafting NAVA’s revised Code of Practice - Art Fairs. Celina is based in Naarm/Melbourne. Instagram: @lleizy_