Official Opening of the 2019 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair
Deputy Premier; Members of the Queensland Executive Council; MPs; Mayors, including our host Cairns Mayor, Councillor Bob Manning; First Nations Patron, Henrietta Marrie; all distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
It is a great pleasure to join you once again for this exciting and much anticipated event in Australia’s arts calendar.
I at once acknowledge the traditional custodians of Cairns and the Cairns region, their elders and future leaders, and pay tribute to their powerful stewardship of the depth and richness of their culture over many millennia. These respectful sentiments I extend also to all Queensland Indigenous peoples.
Bruce McLean’s tribute this evening to the late Mrs Waal-Wall Ngallametta reminds us of the debt we owe to revered artists and cultural leaders who have been so prominent in that stewardship.
Mrs Ngallametta’s wonderful artistic legacy continues to enrich us all. And, on this tenth anniversary of CIAF, it is fitting that we pay tribute also to Thancoupie, a superb artist and a leader of great wisdom and vision whose legacy includes this prestigious annual arts event.
The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair is a wide-open gateway into the richness and depth of culture epitomised in the lives and the art of Thancoupie and Mrs Ngallametta.
This year’s Fair is built around the theme My Yarn Now, providing an opportunity for Indigenous artists to tell us, through art, contemporary stories of the lives of Indigenous peoples in Far North Queensland.
It is a theme that promises engaging and thought-provoking responses from Queensland’s First Peoples.
The Art Fair remains a feast of visual art but, in the course of a decade, it has grown beyond those boundaries into a thriving festival of Indigenous creativity.
The 2019 CIAF program incorporates elements from comedy to traditional language and song, from fashion to art workshops, from performances by young Indigenous people to art projected onto the Cairns cityscape.
And, of course, this 10th anniversary celebration!
CIAF is a complex creative, curatorial and logistical undertaking. It would not be possible without the dedication and support of many people and organisations.
I thank all the artists whose creativity gives this festival its spark and vigour. I thank the CIAF Board and all those whose hard work has brought this feast of art, performance and dialogue to Cairns.
I thank the many generous sponsors and supporters of CIAF from the government and the private sector.
It is now my great pleasure, as Governor and Patron, to wish CIAF a happy tenth anniversary, to declare the 2019 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair officially open, and to wish all involved the greatest possible success.