On Thursday 13 July 2017 Queensland’s Indigenous artists and organisations were recognised among peers at the opening night of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF). Included in the prizes awarded for excellence and emerging talent was the inaugural Award for Innovation, a $10,000 prize sponsored by Copyright Agency | Viscopy, which this year went to multi-disciplinary artist Gail Mabo.

Viscopy board member Leesa Watego presented the award to Ms Mabo, who showed great emotion accepting her prize for the creation of a work described as ‘at the most cutting edge of artistic achievement’.

Ms Watego said, “Our organisation represents the copyright interests of thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island creators. We support the development of projects which benefit progressive and creative Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and promote the creators, their works and achievements. We are proud to support this year’s Innovation Award and see it go to such an exemplary artist.”

© Veronica Sagredo, Blueclick Photography

Gail Mabo, daughter of the revered land rights activists Eddie and Bonita Mabo, was selected along with other CIAF award recipients by an esteemed judging panel comprising Maude Page, Deputy Director, Art Gallery of NSW; Tina Baum, Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art National Gallery of Australia; artist Tony Albert; and CIAF’s artistic director, Janina Harding.

Other recipients of the evening included:

  • Garry Namponan from Wik and Kugu Art Centre, winner of the Premier’s Award for Excellence
  • Alison Murray from Girringun Art Centre, winner of the Emerging Artist Award
  • Wik and Kugu Art Centre awarded Cairns Regional Council’s Art Centre Award
  • Paul Bong – Excellence category – Highly Commended
  • Naomi Hobson – Emerging Artist category – Highly Commended
  • Shirley MacNamara – Innovation category – Highly Commended
  • Girringun Art Centre – Art Centre category – Highly Commended

The Cairns Indigenous Art Fair brings together and conveys the rich diversity of Queensland Indigenous art in a curated art fair exhibition which this year features more than 150 artists. Notably, CIAF is committed to providing an ethical point for sale for Indigenous art to support the career development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists across the state.

Participating artists were asked to respond to this year’s theme of Family Values and visitors to the fair will determine the final award category: The People’s Choice Award, which will be announced at the event’s closing ceremony on Sunday 16 July.

Family Values is on show in Shed 3 of the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal.  Entry is free.