Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF), Media Release, 17 July 2023
The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) celebrated its 14th edition over the weekend with many highlights, most notably, two sell-out fashion performances of Woven.
In 2023 CIAF marked a decade of showcasing Queensland’s vibrant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fashion industry with the performance of Woven taking a cue from the event’s overarching theme, Weaving our Future: Claiming our Sovereignty, which according to CIAF’s Artistic Director Francoise Lane, effectively “captured the political and social sentiment of the time” while recognising that “between the two distinct cultures we are more diverse as peoples and nations.”
From music and movement to set and lighting design within the atmospheric round of a repurposed World War II oil tank, this thoughtful production curated by Lynelle Flinders used the theme to weave a rich thread between cultural traditions and contemporary creativity.
From Quandamooka Country in southeast Queensland to the Cape and Torres Strait CIAF’s featured designer collections were exhibited individually in turn over the course of 60 minutes connecting 14 designer collections, 17 models, and two dancers into one spectacular and oftentimes, moving performances choreographed by a talented sibling duo, Mykelle and Jaydn Bingarape.
Interpreted both literally and figuratively through the woven prints, hair pieces, jewellery and body adornments of Delvene Cockatoo-Collins’ collection to Yarrabah Art Centre’s screen-printed silk and printed words calling for action, the entire performance was as thought-provoking as it was exhilarating.
CIAF’s fashion story began in 2013 when the event included the Ufla Upla textile conference in its program. Since then, CIAF has consistently delivered an annual fashion performance which over the years has become a much-anticipated highlight while building a legacy for Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to participate in Australia’s vibrant and burgeoning Indigenous fashion movement.
The purpose of CIAF’s annual and iconic fashion performance is to promote Queensland’s contemporary Indigenous design, diversity, and inclusion while also empowering Indigenous youth through the representation of who they are and where they come from.
CIAF respectfully acknowledges the First Peoples’ and Custodians of the lands, waters and seas on which we work and live. We honour their Elders, past and present.