Join the conversation at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair

Leading Aboriginal artist, curator and academic Dr Brenda Croft and renowned Torres Strait Islander artist Alick Tipoti will lead debate at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair Symposium in August (Saturday 21 August).

Presented by Arts Queensland with major partner James Cook University, the symposium is part of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF, 20-22 August), a boutique art market that sells and showcases traditional and contemporary artwork by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from Queensland.

The symposium will inform and inspire Indigenous artists, industry professionals, academics, activists, students, dealers, publishers, collectors and media, JCU Vice- Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding said.

There is a focus this year on discussing the rights, opportunities and responsibilities of artists, as ambassadors and cultural custodians, as well as having a close look at the new Indigenous Australian Art Commercial Code of Conduct or Resale Royalty Scheme.

The symposium also provides a special opportunity for Cairns locals and visitors to discuss issues related to Indigenous art with leading authorities.

The symposium will take place in the rainforest setting of Tanks Arts Centre, where delegates can immerse themselves in the Art Fair, while enjoying the debate and discussion of the symposium.

CIAF Artistic Director Michael Snelling said the symposium allowed visitors to CIAF to grapple with the tendentious and complex issues facing the explosion of contemporary Indigenous art.

We are really excited to have Dr Brenda Croft and Alick Tipoti as our keynote speakers, Mr Snelling said.

Brenda has played a key role in the development and understanding of Indigenous art in Australia, from the days of the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative in Sydney 20 years ago through to the groundbreaking 2007 National Gallery of Australia exhibition Culture Warriors.

Alick is one of the most exciting artists from the Torres Strait, a vibrant and dynamic worker in the linocut prints that have so excited audiences, collectors and curators over the past decade.

Until 4 June the 2010 CIAF Symposium is inviting abstracts that respond to the theme of Indigenous arts: identity, place and cultural ownership.

Abstracts from a range of disciplinary and geographical perspectives and papers that address the Indigenous Australian Art Commercial Code of Conduct or Resale Royalty Scheme are encouraged.

The symposium is hosted by James Cook University’s School of Creative Arts.

Tickets are $50, or $25 for concessions, and can be booked at Ticketlink from 24 May on or at 1300 855 835.

For further details visit the CIAF website (

CIAF is a major initiative of the Queensland Government.

Information for media:

JCU Visual arts lecturer Russell Milledge is the convenor of the Symposium and can be contacted on 4042 1796.

For media information and images please contact Prue McMillan, O412 946 935,

Dr Brenda L Croft is a member of the Gurindji/Mudpurra peoples from the Kalkaringi/Daguragu/Limbunya communities in the Northern Territory. She is currently a lecturer at the University of South Australia, and has been involved in the arts and cultural industry for more than two decades as an arts administrator, curator, writer, lecturer and consultant. A practising artist since 1985, Brenda’s works are held in public and private collections in Australia and overseas.

Alick Tipoti is from Waiben Island in the Torres Strait and has become known as one of the region’s most innovative artists. He draws on traditional Torres Strait religious stories and events from the past for his lino prints, where legendary heroes appear along with weapons of war, dhari headdresses, masks, drums and other artefacts associated with ritual dance and ceremony. Alick has a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Printmaking) from the Canberra Institute of Art, Australian National University. In 1998 he was awarded the Lin Onus Youth Prize in the fourth National Indigenous Heritage Art Awards. His work was on show at the inaugural Cairns Indigenous Art Fair in 2009 and he has exhibited throughout Australia, as well as in London, Berlin, Paris and New York.