The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) 2016 celebrations kick off with a feast of visual and cultural performances at the Opening Night party on 14 July, where guests are also treated to a preview of the Fair’s curated art exhibition, Cultural Bliss.
The renowned annual event’s opening party, held under the stars at the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal, is headlined by music legends Buddy Knox, Roger Knox and Vic Simms Vic Simms in a special performance, and includes a dramatic dance by Pormpuraaw community members and their extraordinary eight-metre-long ghost net crocodile as the centerpiece. Hundreds of guests will gather to open the three-day showcase of the art and culture of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The curated art exhibition, Cultural Bliss – a survey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander happiness, is curated by Artistic Director Janina Harding and renowned Curator Hetti Perkins.
“We will see inspiration found through land, community, family and culture; all the elements that connect people and strengthen their identity,” Harding says.
“These new works will reveal an often unobserved, unacknowledged achievement of immense pride and cultural values.”
The Pormpuraaw crocodile featured at the Opening Night party will remain a feature of the CIAF 2016 event. The giant reptile is handmade by community artists, from ghost nets collected at nearby beaches on remote Cape York Peninsula, and will be illuminated internally by LED lights.
The Pormpuraaw dance, connected to the giant croc, tells the story of two cousins, the saltwater and freshwater crocodiles. The Thaayorre people from the Pormpuraaw region have performed this dance since The Dreaming. It defines which tribes of people belong to saltwater and which to freshwater.
“It is a story and dance that is rarely shared with a wider audience and CIAF audiences are in for a real treat on opening night,” the artistic director says.
As well as co-curating Cultural Bliss, Perkins will host more than 35 national and international collectors and curators specially invited to CIAF 2016, under the CIAF Collectors and Curators program. Representatives from private collections, major art galleries and institutions from Australia and around the world will have the opportunity to interact with the artists, and view and buy their work, in a program that is unique to CIAF.
The 2016 Art Fair is expected to exceed the record crowd of 50,000 visitors who attended last year, with an additional fashion showcase performance after last year’s sell-out, and an expansion of the very popular CIAF Art Market for non-curated artists wanting to exhibit and sell their work at CIAF.
Tickets to the Opening Night party are now on sale at the CIAF website and through the new CIAF event mobile app, available now and downloadable in iOS and Android forms.
Cairns Indigenous Art Fair is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland’s Backing Indigenous Arts Initiative, a program that aims to build a stronger, more sustainable and ethical Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts industry in the State. It is also supported through the Visual Arts and Crafts Strategy, an initiative of the Australian State and Territory Governments.
The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair is part of Tourism and Events Queensland’s It’s Live! in Queensland major events calendar. Check out Queensland.com/events for a comprehensive calendar of exciting Queensland events.
The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair offers an exclusive opportunity to experience the traditions of Indigenous communities from Queensland in a true celebration of culture, art, fashion, music and performance. It will be held at the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal, opening the evening of 14 July and running through to 17 July 2016.