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CIAF 2022 Big Sculpture Showcase

[by Pip Miller]


Image: supplied

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) 2022 is shaping up to be its biggest and most visible yet, with 18 large scale, 3D art works displayed within the new surrounds of Cairns Convention Centre, destined to stop visitors in their tracks, between 6 and 10 July 2022.


Initiated with funding from the Queensland Government, under the Spaces and Places program, Big Sculpture Showcase aims to culturally activate and enliven Cairns Convention Centre’s newly refurbished surroundings and Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s creative industries.


Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said the large-scale works would showcase First Nations cultures and stories as a highlight of CIAF 2022.


“These 18 prominent new art works have been realised through investment of $200,000 as part of the Queensland Government’s $22.5 million Arts and Cultural Recovery Package to enable innovative projects of scale that drive cultural and economic outcomes for destination events in regional Queensland.


“The Big Sculptures Showcase will elevate First Nation arts and extend CIAF’s reach and impact by creating new and engaging cultural experiences through new mediums.


“Importantly, this innovative initiative will grow economic outcomes for First Nations artists and art centres and grow the artists’ skills, careers and networks.”


CIAF’s Curatorial Associate, Teho Ropeyarn, who is managing the inaugural project, said Big Sculpture Showcase provides a welcome and formative platform for the state’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists after what has been a challenging time.


According to Mr Ropeyarn, the 18 larger than life-style artworks in a range of statures and various mediums are expected to arrive in Cairns during May after which the curation and installation process can occur in time for CIAF 2022.


“From a creative point of view, the showcase will be magnificent and collectively represent the depth and diversity of talent and styles from 25 of Queensland’s most esteemed artists and art centres.


“For the artists, having successfully completed the tender, commissioning and eight-month creative process, seeing their artworks on show at CIAF will be cause for great celebration – along with the much-awaited return to a ‘live’ event.


“I am confident visitors will be ‘blown away’ by the sheer size and magnificence of the artworks that will be enjoyed up close and in person,” Mr Ropeyarn said.


“CIAF is committed to strengthening the vibrant Indigenous cultures of Queensland while providing a meaningful and ethical cultural exchange between artists and visitors.  This project encapsulates this mission while focussing the world’s attention on a collection of critically acclaimed works,” he said.


Inspired by a photograph of her sister-in-law casting a net off the jetty of her home Country, Kerriri (Hammond Island), Zenadth Kes (Torres Strait) Gordonvale artist, Francoise Lane has created an aluminium frame resembling her family member and female lineage that she will enshroud in reclaimed black fishing net from which to weave her women’s story.


“I am weaving a visual narrative (represented by a pattern) onto the dress that speaks to everyday activities of fishing with the women in my family – my grandmother, she has passed on now, my Mum, different aunties, and cousins,” said Ms Lane.


Some of Queensland’s most highly regarded Indigenous artists with works featured in Big Sculpture Showcase include Brian Robinson, Ian Waldron, Francoise Lane, Paula Savage, Shirley Macnamara and Rhonda Woolla. 


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