Local artists to showcase work at international fair
STEPHEN Pichler may be a qualified lumberjack but he also has a love of working with fine timber, his culture reflected in a delicate carving of a jungle perch or an engraved battle sword.
Mr Pichler, 25, is one of several artists from the Kuku Yalanji Arts Centre at Mossman Gorge who will display and sell works at the upcoming Cairns International Art Fair (CIAF).
With a new focus on highend products, the centre will exhibit beautiful bronze figurines of dugong and barramundi in personalised gift boxes as well as bags and clothing with designs inspired by nature.
“It has been about the tourism product in the past but now there is more of a fine arts focus,” arts centre manager Jeannie Heynatz said.
“We’re aiming to build an understanding of what fine art and craft are and give the tourism products a more classy style, design and individuality.”
This is the third year that Port Douglas’ Sundance Gallery has exhibited at CIAF and director Kane Brown said it was an opportunity to educate people about indigenous art and promote local artists.
“CIAF was set up to combat the explosion of desert art from the Northern Territory and Arnhem Land, to give Queenslanders a rightful place in the Australian indigenous art industry,” he said.
Although Mr Brown is mov- ing on to other arts projects, he will display paintings, hard carved lino prints and a striking range of Torres Strait Island traditional headdresses before the gallery closes down.
Since the first fair in 2009, CIAF has attracted more than 20,500 visitors, sold more than $1.23 million in artwork and injected $2.45 million in tourism expenditure into the region’s economy.
CIAF artistic director Avril Quaill said the event will host a rich program of dance, music, children’s activities and artist talks, as well as an opening party, exhibition and symposium.
The fair takes place at the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal from August 19-21.
Meredith Walsh at the Sundance Gallery
Intricate: Stephen Pichler shows one of his carvings that will be exhibited for sale at CIAF