TRACQS recently supported First Nations artists at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF), held in mid-July at the Cairns Convention Centre.  

From July 14-16, 2023, CIAF welcomed the Cairns local and tourist community to learn, appreciate and witness the creativity flowing from local First Nations artists. Now in its 14th year of operation, CIAF is the perfect opportunity for up-and-coming artists to share their work with a large audience.  

Each year, Cairns Indigenous Art Fair provides a platform for artists to showcase and celebrate culture while presenting an avenue for cultural exchange between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and the thousands of visitors from across Australia and internationally.  

This year, TRACQS successfully operated an art stall managed by our ‘Keeping our Culture Alive’ (KOCA) activity, run through the Community Development Program (CDP) in Kuranda. The KOCA activity encourages the revitalisation and maintenance of local Indigenous cultural knowledge and practices passed down through the generations.  

Rhonda Brim, KOCA Activity Supervisor at TRACQS, is a Djabugay traditional owner and master weaver. Rhonda is passionate about sharing her knowledge with KOCA artists, and her support gives them the opportunity to see their creations through to completion.  

“I love what I do; I love engaging with Bama and encouraging positive engagement between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. I would like to acknowledge TRACQS for their assistance; they have always supported KOCA and our artists to participate in the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair.”

– Rhonda.

With the KOCA activity currently supporting more than six local artists, each was invited to prepare a collection of their work. Maree Gray, Activity Supervisor of Creative Communities at TRACQS, collaborates with KOCA annually to organise the CIAF stall. Maree ensured all collections were safely transported to Cairns Convention Centre to be displayed at CIAF, and with Rhonda, she worked with the artists to set up the KOCA stall, planning the space to ensure customers would have easy access throughout. 

“Shout out to the team of artists who stepped up to not only make high-quality products but also brought enthusiasm, passion for their work and a can-do attitude. Everyone got in and coordinated with each other to ensure we got everything done.”

– Maree.

TRACQS provided additional support to the artists through customer service, sales and bookkeeping duties throughout CIAF’s duration. Some of the works displayed included handmade baskets, earrings, necklaces, firesticks, paintings and printed shirts. 

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair 2023 was a huge success for our KOCA artists and the community as a whole, bringing locals and visitors from all over Cairns and remote regions. As always, TRACQS was proud to take part in CIAF for 2023 and will continue to support our KOCA artists and the creative culture of Kuranda. 

“We take our work seriously while still having fun. Some of the artists have been to CIAF previously, and their creations and confidence have excelled with each experience. I want to thank the team that helped to make CIAF a success- TRACQS, artists and Rhonda. Without you, it would not have been the same! Thank you. I feel privileged to have worked with everyone.”

– Maree. 

If you would like to see more of the incredible work our artists produce as part of the KOCA activity, we encourage you to visit our TRACQS Creative Communities online store.