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CIAF Cairns Indigenous Art Fair 2024

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Jessica Munro
Updated Mon 24 Jun 2024

In celebration of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, The annual Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, commonly known as “CIAF” is set to take place at Cairns Convention Centre from 25th - 27th July, 2024. Showcasing a rich tapestry of Indigenous art, dance, fashion and cultural practices, CIAF is a premier event that draws visitors from all over the globe. 

Cairns Court House Gallery Art Exhibition

What Is CIAF?

CIAF stands for the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, and is an annual event that promotes and exhibits Queensland’s First Nations people within the arts industry. The Fair showcases visual arts, fashion designers and traditional performance artists, while offering an ethical marketplace for visitors, collectors and curators to purchase unique artworks serving as a supportive platform for emerging Indigenous artists.

In addition to the art exhibition, CIAF fosters greater appreciation, awareness and understanding of traditional and contemporary cultural practices amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Through special performances, workshops and discussions, festival goers can experience authentic practices that keep culture alive. 

CIAF Art Fair Market Stalls

Photo Source: CIAF Art Fair  

What Is The Theme for CIAF 2024?

The theme for CIAF 2024 is "Country Speaking." It provides an opportunity for Country to be heard. “Country Speaking” underpins the significant relationship First Nations People have with the land. With climate change affecting all manner of beings, it is also impacting the livelihood of Australia’s indigenous peoples from traditional food supply to rising tidal lines. Country communicates its well-being through natural signs, seasonal changes and dramatic weather events. The theme serves as a powerful reminder for the need to listen to these messages. Country is always speaking, and so it begs the question; are we listening? 

Art is more than a form of cultural expression. Through CIAF, art is an effective platform for raising the issues most important to Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Presented in compelling and emotive narratives that aim to raise the collective consciousness and voices that are positioned to drive change across the region. 

banyan tree forest in Cairns

The History of CIAF

Founded in 2009, The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) was originally established by the Queensland Government as an initiative to back indigenous arts programs. In 2013 it became a corporate not-for-profit entity which continues to focus on increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation with the art space. 

Since its inception, CIAF has continued to provide an influential platform for thousands of artists, generating significant economic benefits for the Indigenous communities. Each year, CIAF draws visitors who come to experience a range of diverse and dynamic Indigenous art and culture. Collectors and curators from around the globe attend the annual event to meet with artists and acquire artworks for private and public collections. 

 The fair has been pivotal in nurturing emerging artists and preserving traditional art forms, while also encouraging contemporary cultural expressions.

two sculptures in Cairns City

CIAF 2024 Event Schedule

Below is a schedule of events for the CIAF Cairns Indigenous Art Fair 2024, showcasing a diverse range of cultural activities and exhibitions that celebrate Indigenous art and heritage with a particular focus on this year's theme of "Country Speaking".

Event Date Location Time Cost Details
BLAKivation Sat 13 July Shields Street between Abbott and Lakes Streets, Cairns City 2:00pm - 5:30pm Free Family friendly event featuring Indigenous dance performances, digital art, sculptural displays and stories, followed by live music on the lawn Court House Gallery until 9pm
CIAF 2024 Opening Night Party Thu 25 July Cairns Convention Centre 6:00pm From $0-$42.35 Cultural dances, live music, opening art fair and market, awards presentation inspired by the theme "Country Speaking"
CIAF 2024 Art Fair and Art Market Thu 25 -Sun 28 July Cairns Convention Centre All Day Free Showcase of artworks and handmade crafts from Queensland's Indigenous artists with over 55 stalls selling works 
Family Friendly Activities Thu 25 - Sun 28 July Cairns Convention Centre All Day Free Variety of fun cultural activities, dances, weaving and craft workshops for kids
CIAF Fashion Performance: Light The Fire Thu 25 - Fri 26 July Tank 3, Tanks Arts Centre Thu: 3:00pm
Fri: 6:00pm and 8:30pm
$33.80 Explores significance of fire in Indigenous culture through performances
CIAF Symposium Fri 26 - Sat 27 Bulmba Ja Theatre 10:00am $66.30 Delves into concepts of "Country" from First Nations perspectives, featured speakers and panel discussions
CIAF Music In The Tanks: Barkaa Showcasing Simone Stacey and No Shame In My Game Sat 27 July Tank 5, Tanks Arts Centre 6:30pm From $0 - $44.20 Performances from one of Australia's top hip hop artists Barkka supported by Simone Stacey and young performers in music development program 
Not Selling Cakes: Celebrating CIAF's 15 Year Anniversary  Thu 5 - Thu 28 July Tank 4, Tanks Arts Centre All Day  Free Signature art exhibition celebrating QLD Indigenous visual artists. Exhibition party 26 July.
CIAF Satellite Exhibitions 1 June - 1 Sept

Northsite Arts Gallery
Cairns Art Gallery
Court House Art Gallery

All Day Free Art exhibitions and installations by multiple artists exploring themes of heritage, identity and relationship to Country. 

The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair 2024 is gearing up to be a vibrant celebration of all things Indigenous art and culture,  emphasising the importance of listening to Country when it speaks. 

Cairns Lagoon cultural digital art light show

Why not explore some of the culturally rich natural surroundings while visiting Cairns for the CIAF Art Fair. 

Chat with our friendly travel experts online, call (07) 4082 7470 or visit our Travel Shop located at Shop 7 Cairns Square, 42-58 Abbott Street.

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