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Celebrate National Reconciliation Week

It is National Reconciliation Week from 27 May to 3 June, which builds on the respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.Photo: Cairns Indigenous Art Fair 2016

National Reconciliation Week marks an important opportunity for all Queenslanders to come together to commemorate and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage, and reflect upon the significant changes in our history for the betterment of Australia’s First Nations’ peoples.

This year marks significant cultural milestones including 50 years since the 1967 referendum and 25 years since the Mabo decision.

The theme for 2017 is Let's Take the Next Steps and as part of this week’s celebrations, we ask all Queenslanders to join in recognising the past and moving together toward the future.

To highlight and celebrate the role arts can play in supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage we have collated case studies previously published on our website.

Arts Queensland is a proud supporter of Indigenous artistic and cultural expression through the Queensland Government’s Backing Indigenous Arts (BIA) Initiative – a $12.6 million investment over four years (2015/16 – 2018/19) to build sustainable and ethical Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts industries.

BIA supports Queensland’s Indigenous artists to keep their culture strong in their communities, while also showcasing the depth and richness of Australian Indigenous art and stories, contemporary and traditional, across the country and the world.

Support from BIA also extends to Queensland’s network of Indigenous Arts Centres which offer employment, career development, cultural retention, social support and other opportunities for artists in remote communities. Art is an expression of culture but also offers economic and employment opportunities in Indigenous communities.

BIA assists artists from creation to market via an investment cycle that begins with art centres and individual grants through to support for the annual Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF).

CIAF makes a big contribution to the economy, attracting visitors, boosting communities and supporting local jobs. A significant addition to this year’s event, which runs from 4-16 July 2017, is the CIAF Art Awards enabled through a series of new government and business partnerships. It is anticipated these awards will provide additional development pathways for Queensland’s Indigenous artists, while also growing the CIAF’s national and international profile. The winner of the ‘Premier’s Award for Excellence’ in 2017 will receive $15,000 to support the development of their art practice.

CIAF and Ports North have been recognised for their inspiring work in advancing reconciliation across the state by winning the Partnership category in the 2017 Queensland Reconciliation Awards. The two entities formed a partnership in 2011 through a common appreciation of Indigenous art and culture with the desire to make it accessible to all.

Badu Art Centre and KickArts were also selected as Partnership finalists for their work on the development of a bilingual art exhibition and catalogue - Sageraw Thonar. KickArts Contemporary Arts based in Cairns has been working with Badu Art Centre for over three years.