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

    Eighth Cairns Indigenous Art Fair opens with new Premier’s Award

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

    Thursday, July 13, 2017

    Eighth Cairns Indigenous Art Fair opens with new Premier’s Award

    One of Australia’s most highly anticipated annual Indigenous arts and cultural experiences, the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair,opened tonight with a vibrant display of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and performance in front of more than 1200 guests at the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal. 


    Held over three action-packed days, the 8th Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (14-16 July 2017) is one of the state’s most significant opportunities to showcase and develop commercial outcomes for our Indigenous artists, said Queensland Premier and Minister for the Arts Annastacia Palaszczuk.


    The Queensland Government supports CIAF as part of its $12.6 million Backing Indigenous Arts initiative which aims to keep culture strong and create economic opportunities by building sustainable and ethical Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts industries across the State, including direct funding to support CIAF and 14 Indigenous Art Centres.


    “Every year, art enthusiasts from around the world visit CIAF and are drawn to this beautiful part of the country by the distinctive and diverse artwork created by our talented Indigenous artists. 


    “Established in 2009, CIAF continues to grow and evolve, with the introduction of the popular art market in 2015, and this year my government has bolstered its support for the Fair, partnering with CIAF to create the Premier’s Award for Excellence as part of its inaugural art awards. 


    “Tonight it was my great pleasure to present this award, which recognises the most outstanding work at the Fair, to Aurukun artist Garry Namponan from Wik and Kugu Art Centre.


    “The judging panel selected Mr Namponan for his body of work which shows an exceptional quality and narrative that transitions from sculpture through to painting.


    “Mr Namponan is renowned for his Ku’ (Camp Dog) sculptures and abstracted painted canvases and will receive $15,000 to support the continued development of his art practice,” the Premier said.


    The judging panel were impressed with the level of the diversity and quality of the artwork awarding Cairns artist Paul Bong, a descendant of the Yidinji tribe, a high commendation in the Premier’s Award for Excellence category. 


    “The CIAF Art Awards are a wonderful addition to CIAF that provides further development pathways for Queensland Indigenous artists, celebrates our talented artists and increasesthe Fair’s national and international profile.”


    The Premier said CIAF offers something for everyone, from the art collector and curator to families, with spectacular art on show, traditional and contemporary music and dance, live performance and theatre, story-telling, plus artist talks and conversations.


    “This year’s program has been carefully curated based on the central theme of ‘Family Values’, featuring 300 visual artists and 75 performers presenting work that incorporates their thoughts and designs around family, identity, and connections through community,” said the Premier.


    “Highlights include the world premiere of Queensland Theatre’s My Name is Jimi, an installation by artist Gail Mabo honouring her late father Indigenous land rights campaigner Eddie KoikiMabo, and the signature fashion performance Wandan.


    “My Government is committed to showcasing the best of Queensland Indigenous art and culture to the world and to creating economic opportunities for artists and the wider Cairns community,” she said.


    “CIAF has launched and expanded the careers of many artists, profiling new talent in the exhibition, markets and performances, it is also an important meeting place for conversation and networking that has led to hundreds of collaborations, sales, commissions and exhibitions that have taken Queensland artists across the world.”


    Full program details are available at


    Photo: L-R Dereck Walpo, Aurukun Shire Mayor;  Leeane Enoch, Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business; Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk; winner Garry Namponan ;and Mark Furner, Minister for Local Government and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships 


    Media contact: Susan McGrady 0488 996 667