Premier and Arts Minister Anna Bligh today announced the second Cairns Indigenous Art Fair a dazzling success attracting more than 10,500 visitors and selling more than $700,000 in artwork.
Cairns Indigenous Art Fair transformed the city for three days with its program of art, dance, music and debate, said Ms Bligh.
This event has now made its mark on the nation’s cultural calendar as a must-see event for people wishing to immerse themselves in Queensland’s rich Indigenous cultures.
This year’s Art Fair was bigger and better, with venues across Cairns taking part and more artwork for sale. It is great to see that in this tough economic climate the event exceeded last year’s sales by $200,000.
From the magical opening on Thursday night with the Injinoo dancers, to Dan Sultan’s sell out concert and the final moments where children joined Traditional Owners to learn how to shake a leg, this was a joyous celebration.
People are continuing to buy even after the event from the 11 art galleries and 12 Indigenous art centres who attended the fair and this will have ongoing benefits for our Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.
The number of national collectors and international curators attending this year was also significantly higher and this will also build new relationships and create life-changing career opportunities for our artists, performers and arts workers.
Artwork was sold to key national and international galleries, museums and private collections in the United States and Europe.
A BBC World film crew with host Griff Rhys Jones was also there capturing all the stories of Art Fair and Queensland’s artists.
Founding Artistic Director Michael Snelling said Art Fair realised its purpose of showcasing the state’s leading and emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and will also deliver key economic benefits through sales back to artists and the community.
Over the three days of Art Fair it was great to see people from all parts of the community gather at Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns Regional Gallery and the eight venues across the city to engage, enjoy and buy.
Once again, it was a great celebration that was embraced by locals who gave a very warm welcome to all the international and interstate visitors.
This is my final year with Cairns Indigenous Art Fair with a new Indigenous Artistic Director to be appointed later in 2010. Steering this event over the past two years has been one of the most rewarding projects of my career and I am looking forward to seeing it grow and develop.
In 2009 the Art Fair delivered significant benefits to Cairns’ tourism, cultural and hospitality sectors, injecting an estimated $1 million into the local economy and created a number of short-term job opportunities which were filled by local Indigenous people. This success is expected to be repeated in 2010.
The State Government believes the Art Fair has the potential to become a major cultural tourism event for Queensland and has invested an additional $1.2 million in the event for 2010 and 2011.
The event is a major initiative of the Queensland Government delivered by Arts Queensland, with support from Tourism Queensland, Queensland Events Corporation, the Queensland Indigenous Arts Marketing and Export Agency and many other government and private partners and supporters.
Cairns Indigenous Art Fair takes place in 2011 from 19-21 August. For more information visit ciaf.com.au
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