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Cairns Indigenous Art Fair welcomes new Artistic Director

[by Pip Miller]


Image: Blueclick Photography

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) has announced artist and designer Francoise Lane as incoming Artistic Director following the departure of Janina Harding at the completion of last month’s Fair.

With involvement in CIAF since 2013, in both the role of artist exhibitor and curator of exhibitions, Where’s Your Permit? (2021) and CIAF Fashion Story (2022), Ms Lane is well placed to build upon the remarkable achievements of her predecessor, Janina Harding.

After a two-year COVID hiatus CIAF made a stellar come back in July 2022 with record art sales exceeding $1 million for the first time and attendance across the five-day program of more than 60,000 visitors.

CIAF Chair Tom Mosby said the appointment opened an exciting new chapter and represented a defining moment in the organisation’s 13-year history.

“After undertaking a thorough nationwide search, the CIAF Board is pleased to announce one of Far North Queensland’s most talented artists and cultural leaders as its new Artistic Director.

“Artistically, Francoise is a formidable talent whose cultural sensibilities and experience from a commercial context, along with vision and ambition, make her ideally suited to the strategic demands of the role.  We are excited for the future and extend a warm welcome to Francoise,” Mr Mosby said.

A Torres Strait Islander woman whose maternal family are from Hammond Island, Francoise Lane identifies as both Meriam and Kaurareg. Inspired by her family, Kerriri (Hammond Island) and the natural reef and rainforest landscapes of her tropical North Queensland home, Francoise is a multi-disciplinary creative whose practise spans textile design, visual and surface pattern art, and sculpture.  Added to this, Francoise, and her husband Andrew Lane established Indij Design in 2011, a 100 per cent Indigenous owned, award-winning architectural and design company.

Reflecting upon her new role, Ms Lane said, “Over the last two years I have worked amongst the CIAF team and closely with Janina to curate and deliver two culturally relevant and timely exhibitions. During this time, I have seen how well the CIAF team works together and am delighted to be leading such a professional creative team. It is an honour to be part of an Indigenous led organisation with Board Chair Tom Mosby and General Manager Darrell Harris. 


“We are in times of great opportunity with Indigenous creatives highlighting the diversity of cross disciplinary arts practice among their contemporary, fellow First Nation’s creatives. The intersection of design and art is an exciting one and it will be wonderful to explore what this could add to CIAF,” said Ms Lane.


Ms Lane has commenced in her role with CIAF and is working towards the delivery of CIAF’s 14th anniversary season that will take place at Cairns Convention Centre and cultural venues throughout the city from Wednesday 12 July to Sunday 16 July 2023.


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