Official opening of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair
Thank you for another warm Far North Queensland welcome, and may I extend the same to the many visitors who are joining us tonight, Kaye and I are once again delighted to be here.
I acknowledge the Minister for the Arts, Mayor Manning, First Nations Patron, ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by paying respect to the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we gather, the Gimuy Walubarra Yidinji people, their Elders past and present, and those young people being formed to take on the Elder role.
Congratulations and thanks to the dancers for their wonderful performance tonight!
It is an honour as Governor of Queensland to serve as Patron for the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, which this year – its fifth – celebrates the most apt theme of ‘Connection to Country’.
Art can be raw and confronting.
It can be thought-provoking and reflective.
Above all, it is uniting.
Art – and I include the Performing Arts in this, such as the spectacular dancing we have just had the privilege of watching – art is a common language.
We do not all have the same response to a work of art, but we all have a response.
And when we recognise that response in each other, bridges start to be built towards a common understanding.
This is the fourth CIAF I have had the pleasure of attending, and each time I visit I am sure that the art and the event itself cannot be surpassed – yet here we are.
Earlier tonight I had the wonderful privilege of viewing the works on display, and I must say, the overwhelming success of CIAF is unsurprising.
CIAF is a platform for Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to showcase their works to the world – and indeed more than 2,000 such artists have been represented here since the Fair began.
It is also an opportunity for collectors and curators to engage with the artists and transform their appreciation from the purely aesthetic to a deeper cultural understanding.
I would like to offer my thanks to First Nations Patron, Ms Fourmile-Marrie, recently admitted to the Order of Australia, to the members of the Board of Directors, and to the staff and volunteers of CIAF.
Every person who is a part of CIAF shares a common vision, and their hard work and dedication is most certainly appreciated.
I would also like to thank all of you here for your attendance tonight, and for your continued interest and investment in these exceptional artists and their works.
Both the creation of art and the acquisition of art is an enriching experience.
As artists become known by the pieces they create, collectors become known by the pieces they prize.
While you are here I encourage you to find that special piece that speaks to you, and to take it home – by supporting the artists, of course – not merely as a memento of your time here, but as a source of long-term delight.
And so it is my great pleasure to declare the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair open!