CIAF 2021 tells truth of past to form connections for future

Minister for Communities and Housing, Minister for Digital Economy and Minister for the Arts The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) returns for 2021 with a vibrant new program that captures the culture, talent and history of First Nation Peoples, country, place and sacred sites.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said the Queensland Government has supported CIAF since its inception, with annual funding of $600,000 through the Backing Indigenous Arts initiative, creating jobs for First Nations artists and arts workers.

“CIAF 2021 offers an ethical art marketplace that will cultivate, exchange and share our state’s cultural stories as part of our important journey towards truth-telling,” Minister Enoch said.

“2020 was a time when the world stage was closed and CIAF pivoted to virtually share First Nations culture art and performance in Queensland with millions of people across the globe.

“This year, CIAF is leveraging the successes of last year’s virtual festival by creating an exciting fusion festival combining live events with digital programming.

“CIAF’s opening night celebrations, workshop activities, art awards and art market find a new home in 2021 at the impressive surroundings of Cairns Convention Centre, following its extensive refurbishment,” Ms Enoch said.

Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Craig Crawford said CIAF continues to grow from strength to strength, providing important artistic and employment opportunities for First Nations artists while helping to deliver on Queensland’s plan for economic recovery.

“Artworks from the festival will create exciting cultural experiences attracting physical and virtual visitors to the 2021 event, further delivering on the festival’s strong track record in growing regional development, providing employment and economic recovery,” Minster Crawford said.

“Through its various art forms CIAF significantly contributes to telling the stories and starting the conversations on the path to Treaty.”

Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development and Member for Cairns Michael Healy said that CIAF is so important for the cultural and economic outcomes in the Cairns community.

“CIAF recently received additional Government funding of $200,000 under the Spaces and Places program, supported by the Arts and Cultural Recovery Package to produce large scale artworks inspired by Indigenous stories and experiences.

“As well as creating local jobs these commissioned works profile the unique art of First Nation artists and will be a centre piece of CIAF next year in 2022.”

Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said CIAF also successfully secured $64,000 through the First Nations Commissioning Fund to develop the LIVE IT UP performing arts and music program, and $20,000 from the Digital Adaptation Fund for video and camera equipment through the recovery package.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to elevating First Nations arts through key actions in the delivery of Creative Together 2020-2030, a 10-year strategy to renew and transform Queensland through arts, culture and creativity,” Ms Lui said.

“Another CIAF highlight will be Queensland Theatre’s new tri-lingual production of Shakespeare’s Othello as reimagined by Jimi Bani and Jason Klarwein and set between Cairns and the Torres Strait.”

The arts are key to delivering our Government’s plan for economic recovery, each year contributing $8.5 billion into the state’s economy and supporting more than 92,000 jobs for Queenslanders.

CIAF’s Artistic Director Janina Harding said support from the Queensland Government has been invaluable.

“In 2020 this support enabled us to soldier on and deliver a digital platform for cultural expression, along with economic opportunities for our artists,” Ms Harding said.

“This year, continued support underpins our return to presenting both physical and online programming while addressing the ongoing issues associated with last year’s lockdown.

“Namely, through our Where’s Your Permit? Exhibition, artists will share insights into restrictions on free movement for those based in remote communities, and how this harks back to the days of the protection era.

“Also, through our Art Fair and Fashion Performance CIAF will highlight ongoing concerns over the conservation, sustainability and threats to our sacred sites and places,” Ms Harding said.

The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair 2021 runs from 17 to 22 August.

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