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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Indigenous artists showcase art and culture at home and overseas

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Friday, July 15, 2016

    Indigenous artists showcase art and culture at home and overseas

    Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists are garnering national and international acclaim with a series of successes in 2016.

    In Far North Queensland for the opening of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF), Premier and Arts Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said the first half of this year had seen Queensland Indigenous artists feature in a ground-breaking exhibition in Monaco, take to the catwalk in an art-meets-fashion moment in Melbourne and lock in a new TV show for the Torres Strait.

    “Queensland’s artists are leading the way by keeping culture strong in their communities, while also showcasing the depth and richness of Australian Indigenous art and stories, contemporary and traditional, across the country and the world,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

    The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, is expected to attract thousands of art lovers to the city’s waterfront to celebrate and experience the contemporary and traditional cultures of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

    More than 100 artists are taking part in a program jam-packed with visual and performing arts, fashion and design, film, workshops, artist talks and children’s activities.

    “Launched by the Queensland Government in 2009, CIAF is now firmly established as one of the state’s most significant cultural tourism events. In 2015, the Art Fair broke records with attendance of 50,000, and also injected an estimated $4.37 million into the region’s economy,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

    “Queensland’s Indigenous art sector has much to celebrate this year. Among the many reasons to celebrate, next week (18 July) filming of the new ABC TV, Screen Australia and Screen Queensland production Blue Water Empire will kick-off in the Torres Strait.

    “Featuring predominantly local cast and crew, Blue Water Empire explores how Torres Strait Islanders have maintained their rich cultural heritage and tradition,” she said.

    The spotlight is also on Queensland artists at Monaco’s Oceanographic Museum with Bagu sculptures from the artists of Girringun Art Centre in Cardwell, three to seven metre tall Dhari from Torres Strait Elder Ken Thaiday Snr, a stunning ghost net installation from Darnley Island’s Erub Arts and Pormpuraaw Art Centre and striking contemporary sculptures and prints from leading Torres Strait artists Brian Robinson and Alick Tipoti.

    “This is an amazing opportunity for these artists with 500,000 visitors expected to visit the Australia: Defending the Oceans at the Heart of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Art exhibition at the Oceanographic Museum over the European summer,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

    Artists from art centres Erub Arts, Mornington Island Arts, and Yalanji Arts at Mossman Gorge also impressed at the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival Cultural Program earlier this year showcasing textiles, prints and wearable art. A co-production with CIAF, the fashion-meets-art performance has raised substantial commercial interest.

    Premier Palaszczuk praised the role of Indigenous Art Centres in remote communities as drivers of creative endeavour, employment and social support, as well as safe places where culture can be strengthened and passed on to new generations.

    “Across far north Queensland we support 14 art centres and hubs as part of our $12.6 million investment in the Backing Indigenous Arts Initiative over four years,” she said.

    “Art is not only an expression of culture but also offers economic and employment opportunities in Indigenous communities. This is why our Backing Indigenous Arts Initiative supports artists from creation to market through an investment cycle that begins with art centres and individual grants and concludes with support for Cairns Indigenous Art Fair.”  

    Media contact: Premier’s Office 0488 996 667