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Torres Strait artists showcase their skills at first Cairns Indigenous Art Fair

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) recently supported two artists from Mer Island to attend the 2019 Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) from 12 to 14 July.

As first-time attendees at CIAF, Mrs Helen Mabo and Mrs Helen Dick travelled to this year’s event along with the Gab Titui Cultural Centre representative team, where theyhosted weaving workshops to showcase traditional weaving techniques and promote their work.

TSRA Chairperson, Mr Napau Pedro Stephen AM, said that opportunities like CIAF are often missed by artists in remote communities due to the expensive travel costs, so the TSRA offers support where possible for artists to attend such events.

“The TSRA have always supported artists to experience the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair as it’s an important opportunity for them to network with other artists, collectors and galleries,” Mr Stephen said.

“The artistswill now take what they have learned from the visit and share it with other artists and members of their community.

“Positive experiences like CIAF can encourage aspiring artists to get involved in future events and explore different avenues to promote their art.

The artists enjoyed the chance to participate in the creative platform that CIAF offers and proudly shared their culture even gifting some of their pre-made ornaments to participants and attendees.

Mrs Mabo and Mrs Dick also attended the official opening of Black Bamboo: Contemporary Bamboo Furniture Design from Mer at the Cairns Art Gallery; a project that they had been heavily involved with on Mer Island.

A further highlight for the pair was attending the Cultural Heights premier at the Cairns Performing Arts Centre for the performances of the Mer community choir; Mer Ira Watai.

Now in preparations for the 2019 Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair in August, the Gab Titui Cultural Centre are in negotiations with other local Torres Strait artists to accompany and attend the festivities in Northern Territory.

Torres Strait Islanders and Aboriginal people are advised this website may contain names, images and recordings of people who have passed.