Premier and Arts Minister Anna Bligh tonight opened the second Cairns Indigenous Art Fair

Aboriginal Art Directory | 22.08.10

Premier and Arts Minister Anna Bligh tonight opened the second Cairns Indigenous Art Fair.

Ms Bligh welcomed more than 250 artists and performers, art dealers, collectors and Indigenous art centres representatives who have gathered in the city for the event.

“This is a landmark moment for the Queensland Indigenous arts industry and Cairns as we see the north take the spotlight as a national meeting place for key players in the Indigenous arts and culture industry,” said Ms Bligh.

CIAF, which runs from 20-22 August, is unique among international art fairs, bringing galleries together with Indigenous art centres at a major marketplace, which is complemented with dance, music, children’s activities, talks and forums.

“The Art Fair will show the work of leading and emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists at this unique event,” said the Premier.

“Eleven art galleries are exhibiting alongside 12 Indigenous art centres from as far north as Erub Island and south to Stradbroke Island.

“This event is one of my Government’s key commitments to ‘closing the gap’ and it creates real economic opportunities for Indigenous communities.”

The Premier said that for the artists CIAF was a valuable opportunity to sell work and gain a higher profile.

“Last year’s Art Fair showed us how powerful this opportunity can be with artists having their work bought by major public art institutions and securing exhibitions in Sydney and Brisbane.

“This year’s Art Fair is bigger and better with the main event still at Tanks Arts Centre but other events happening across a total of nine venues.

“These venues will host a youth symposium to complement the main CIAF Symposium, theatre performances, a film festival and two major forums on Indigenous theatre and dance that have attracted leading players such as Wesley Enoch, Rachel Maza and Ernie Dingo.

“There is also a great concert, Bippera Kymel, on Friday 20 August, starring talented singer Dan Sultan that is the opening event for Cairns Festival.”

CIAF 2009 delivered significant benefits to Cairns' tourism, cultural and hospitality sectors, injecting an estimated $1 million into the local economy and created a number of short-term job opportunities which were filled by local Indigenous people.

"The State Government believes CIAF has the potential to become a major cultural tourism event for Queensland and is investing an additional $1.2 million in the event for 2010 and 2011,” the Premier said.

"Tourism Queensland is also working with the Art Fair to raise its international profile, as well as Queensland Events Corporation, which along with the Queensland Indigenous Arts Marketing and Export Agency has brought key collectors and curators, including four internationals to Cairns for the event.”

Ms Bligh thanked CIAF 2010 Artistic Director Michael Snelling for his groundbreaking work on the first two art fairs.

“Michael has worked with the team at Arts Queensland to help shape this unique event that is telling the story of Queensland Indigenous art to an ever broadening audience,” the Premier said.

“He is handing over the baton for 2011 event to a new Indigenous director. We have advertised this position and will announce the new director later this year.”

CIAF 2010 is a major initiative of the State Government delivered by Arts Queensland.
For more information on Cairns Indigenous Art Fair visit

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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



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