Coast and country

Aboriginal Art Directory | 13.09.09

Author: Michael Gebicki
News source: The Australian

The inaugural three-day Cairns Indigenous Arts Fair has been a festival of peace, love and understanding so far, but the Ariw Poenipan dancers from Saibai Island are dressed for war.

When they take to the open-air stage at the Tanks Art Centre on the northern outskirts of Cairns they are wearing dhibal headdresses, fans of white feathers tipped with blood red. Faces are daubed with paint, shoulders are leather-padded and there are arm guards on their left forearms. Some wear decorations in the pierced septums of their noses and they carry bows and arrows. Both are reminders of the proximity of their homeland to Papua New Guinea, 4km from Saibai Island, at the northern end of the Torres Strait.

It's a romping, stomping performance by dancers who are rarely seen in this part of the world, and it underlines the richness and diversity of Australia's indigenous cultures.


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Contact Details

Gallery: Cairns Indigenous Art Fair
Contact: Janina Harding / Vanessa Gillin
Telephone: 07 4050 7712
Address: 51 The Esplanade Cairns 4870 QLD



Further Research

Gallery: Cairns Indigenous Art Fair

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