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CIAF Secures Partnerships To Launch Inaugural Art Awards

May 15, 2017 Business News No Comments Email Email

A significant addition to this year’s Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) program is its CIAF Art Awards enabled through a series of new corporate partnerships spanning local business and government.

CIAF’s Artistic Director, Janina Harding said the awards have been introduced to reflect the not-for-profit organisation’s commitment to supporting the professional development of Queensland’s talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

Ms Harding said the annual awards will command a special focus at this year’s event and are destined to become an essential part of CIAF’s bid to develop a nationwide reputation for talent, excellence and innovation.

“Art Centres will take a cue from this year’s Family Values theme providing a range of perspectives that reveal the scope and nature of contemporary cultural values among Queensland First Peoples.”

Premier and Minister for the Arts, Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Queensland Government welcomed the introduction of CIAF’s art awards in 2017.

“CIAF is a wonderful celebration of Queensland’s contemporary Indigenous arts and culture and I am delighted my government is partnering with CIAF to create The Premier’s Award for Excellence to recognise the most outstanding work at the Fair,” the Premier said.

“CIAF is a significant tourism drawcard for the region and an essential outlet for artists, indigenous arts centres and the wider community through the creation of economic opportunities.

“It is anticipated these awards will provide additional development pathways for Queensland’s indigenous artists, while also growing the CIAF’s national and international profile.”

The winner of the Premier’s Award for Excellence in 2017 will receive $15,000 to support the development of their art practice.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning agrees and said the new art awards would add another important component to an already successful event, and Cairns Regional Council was proud to be a sponsor.

“In my four years as a member of the CIAF board, I’ve had the pleasure of watching this event grow into the sophisticated and successful showcase of Indigenous art and culture that we see today.

“The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair is not only a celebration and expression of Queensland’s Indigenous culture, it has become a genuine platform for emerging professional artists to be noticed and to achieve international status.

“It empowers our Indigenous artists to strive for success that may previously have seemed denied or unattainable, and provides an opportunity for artists to gain exposure for their work in an environment that values and respects the strength and beauty of Indigenous culture,” the Mayor said.

The winner of the Cairns Regional Council Art Centre Award will receive $10,000.

United in their objective to recognise recipients of five judging categories with a total prize cache of $45,000, CIAF’s Art Awards Categories and Sponsors are as follows:

People’s Choice Award, Fibre Optics NQ $5000; Emerging Artist Award, Marsh Property $5000; Award for Innovation, Copyright Agency, Viscopy $10,000; Cairns Regional Council Art Centre Award, Cairns Regional Council $10,000; and The Premier’s Award for Excellence, the Queensland Government $15,000.

Ms Harding said she is also excited to announce the appointment of three high-profile, respected judges: Maude Page, Deputy Director, Art Gallery of NSW, Tina Baum Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art National Gallery of Australia and Tony Albert, Artist.  The judging panel will review works on display within the art fair space with inaugural winners announced at the opening night party at Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal on Thursday, 13 July 2017. People’s Choice Award will be announced at the Closing Ceremony on Sunday 16 July, ensuring visitors have adequate time to cast their vote.

According to Ms Harding there is no application process or fee required to enter, with most works on display within the art fair space, eligible for selection.  These include Queensland Indigenous Art Centres (including IACA members), local and commercial galleries and independent and guest artists.

Other criteria states that only Queensland Indigenous artists exhibited at CIAF are allowed to enter with work created within 18 months of last year’s event.  Commissioned works within the art fair space will not be eligible for the awards.

The judging panel will change with each year and comprise of three judges, selected annually, by CIAF Board and management.

Festival goers can also stay up to date with the latest CIAF program information by downloading the 2017 version of CIAF’s event app or

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