NorthSite Presents First Nations showcase during CIAF 2023


NorthSite Contemporary Arts is pleased to announce a season of exhibitions by Queensland First Nations artists, coinciding with the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) 2023.

“NorthSite continues to present culturally engaging and high quality First Nations showcasings. Malu Bardthar Dapar curated by Aven Noah Jr will be a popular CIAF Satellite exhibition choice”. said Francoise Lane (Artistic Director, CIAF)

NorthSite will present four exhibitions across their gallery spaces at Bulmba-ja from late-June to mid-August. In addition, NorthSite will showcase artist Heather Koowootha’s major series of watercolour paintings on paper currently on display at Carriageworks, Sydney as part of The National 4: Australian Art Now, at our exhibition stand during CIAF 2023.

“We’re thrilled to be supporting CIAF 2023 with our season of exclusively First Nations exhibitions and look forward to welcoming visitors to NorthSite to experience the breadth of contemporary First Nations practice in Queensland”. said Hamish Sawyer (Acting Director, NorthSite)

On Tuesday 11 July, NorthSite, in partnership with the Indigenous Art Centre Alliance (IACA), will hold the annual CIAF Artists’ Party at our home in Bulmba-ja; welcoming collectors and curators from around the country and inviting the general public to experience and celebrate with the artists in the gallery.

“It’s great for IACA to be part of presenting this great event again, this year joining forces with NorthSite”. said Solomon Booth (President, IACA),

“The Artists’ Party has always been an opportunity for our member Art Centres, their artists and staff to come together with collectors & curators and celebrate our Indigenous culture, our sector and all the hard work in getting so many artworks ready for CIAF, before it kicks off”.

On Saturday 15 July from 2pm, the NorthSite Open event will host exhibiting artists and curators talks at NorthSite Contemporary Arts, immediately following the conclusion of the CIAF Symposium, which returns to Bulmba-ja for 2023.

“NorthSite Open offers audience members the chance to hear from the artists in our current exhibitions, ask questions and gain valuable insights into their work”. said Hamish Sawyer (Acting Director, NorthSite)

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated with the full program showcase when it becomes available: Sign up here



Exhibition title: Moa Arts — Malu Bardthar Dapar | Sea Land Sky
Location: Gallery 1 and Foyer Wall | NorthSite at Bulmba-ja
Exhibition dates: 24 June – 19 August
Description: Through their printmaking and weaving practices, the artists of Moa investigate and reinterpret Melanesian mark marking, explore political and sociological storytelling related to Torres Strait culture, history and identity, building upon a rich audio-visual archive of traditional mythology. These senior and emerging artists come together at Moa Arts Centre, (Ngalmun Lagau Minaral) to share moral and spiritual perspectives and materialise observations of the environment and daily life, through art and culture.
“This exhibition shares powerful cultural stories from our island home through the eyes of senior and emerging artists. ” – Aven Noah Jr. (Curator, NorthSite)

Exhibition title: Woven Identity
Artist name(s): Kim Ah Sam
Location: Void Gallery | NorthSite at Bulmba-ja
Exhibition dates: 24 June – 19 August
Description: Ah Sam’s weaving practice embodies storytelling and knowledge-sharing and is tied to the renewal and reconnection with her Kalkadoon father’s country and culture. Ah Sam explores weaving as a therapeutic practice towards a process of cultural healing and a way to address feelings of disconnection and reconnection with her Country.

Exhibition title: KAIKAI
Artist name(s): Keemon Williams
Location: Gallery 2 | NorthSite at Bulmba-ja
Exhibition dates: 1 July – 26 August
Description: Keemon Williams (b.1999) is a queer Meanjin (Brisbane) based artist of Koa, Kuku Yalanji and Meriam Mir descent. He utilizes an array of mediums old and new to expand his relationships with location, personal histories and cultural plasticity. Through practice he forges belonging within all parts of the self.

Exhibition title: SOVEREIGNTY
Artist name(s): Nicole Enoch-Chattfield | Sheila Brimm | Sheree Jacobs | Susan Reyes | Curated by Jamaylya Ballangarry-Kearins
Location: Long Wall | NorthSite at Bulmba-ja
Exhibition dates: 26 June – 26 August
Description: In response to the CIAF 2023 theme of “Weaving our stories, claiming our sovereignty” Ballangarry-Kearins invites female First Nations artists to explore their own perspectives of sovereignty and self-determination – giving thought to the idea that sovereignty is only achievable for colonised indigenous peoples through decolonisation and self-determination.

Exhibition title: The Bush people’s walking path ways of Country site’s and story place
Artist name(s): Heather Koowootha
Location: NorthSite exhibition stand for CIAF 2023 | Cairns Convention Centre
Exhibition dates: 13 July – 16 July
Description: Heather Koowootha is a visual storyteller who documents and shares cultural knowledge learnt through her family and kin from a young age. The Bush people’s walking path ways of Country site’s and story places is a series of watercolours on paper that share traditional ecological knowledge of plants. Collectively, they represent an interrelated web linking people and Country across time. This work was commissioned by Carriageworks for The National 4: New Australian Art Now (2023) and supported by NorthSite Contemporary Arts, Cairns.



Stay update and be the first to know by subscribing to our newsletter: Subscribe to NorthSite

Tuesday, 11 July
CIAF Artists’ Party
Location: NorthSite at Bulmba-ja, 96 Abbott Street, Cairns City 4870
Open to public: 6PM – 9PM
Description: Ahead of the public opening of the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) 2023, NorthSite in partnership with the Indigenous Art Centre Alliance (IACA) is hosting the CIAF Artists’ Party; a celebration of all artists presenting work for CIAF 2023. We welcome the general public to join us from 6PM for a Welcome to Country presented by Minjil, the official opening of the exhibitions showing at Bulmba-ja and a live music set.
This event is presented in partnership with Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF).
Join: Be the first to know by subscribing to our newsletter, Sign up

Saturday, 15 July
NorthSite Open: Artists and Curators Talks for CIAF 2023
Location: NorthSite at Bulmba-ja, 96 Abbott Street, Cairns City 4870
Time: 2PM – 4PM
Description: Join us for NorthSite Open, a unique opportunity to meet the artists and curators of the four exhibitions showing at NorthSite during CIAF 2023. Visitors will receive a tour of the galleries, hear from the artists and curators and have the opportunity to ask questions.
Join: Be the first to know by subscribing to our newsletter, Sign up


Select Artists, Curator Aven Noah Jr and Acting Director Hamish Sawyer are available for interview. To arrange a time, request images for republication or any other media inquiries contact Jamie Clarke: communications@northsite.org.au | 07 4050 9494



View NorthSite’s exhibition showcase: Click here

CIAF 2023 will run from 13 – 16 July for more information about CIAF 2023 visit: https://ciaf.com.au


Logo for NorthSite Contemporary Arts, IACA and CIAF

Ethereal Selves

Two clear perspex panels with blue paint hang from the ceiling.


NorthSite Contemporary Arts are pleased to present the exhibition Ethereal Selves by Emma Gardner.

Ethereal Selves is an installation of suspended self-portraits capturing moments of surrender and states of vulnerability.

Gardner’s work is grounded in Western esoteric practices, such as Contemporary Occultism, which emphasise human connections to natural elements and rhythms. She looks to the stars for divination and incorporates ritualistic habits that promote healing into her creative process. In her self-portraits, Gardner uses analogue photography yet moves beyond surface-level and representational imagery.

Ethereal Selves also illustrates Gardner’s larger interests in storytelling, watching, feeling and wandering without direction. Through these works, she hopes to evoke ancient heroines and imagine future protagonists, who challenge the rationality, consumption and commercialism of contemporary life by demonstrating other ways of being.

Gardner’s exhibition is showing at NorthSite Contemporary Arts from 25 March to 06 May 2023.

FREE ENTRY | Learn More: northsite.org.au/exhibitions/ethereal-selves/


NorthSite Open | Saturday, 25 MARCH 2023 | 10AM-12:30PM | $15pp
Emma Gardner will discuss her exhibition, Etheral Selves, in which her cynatope self-portraits are digitally translated onto Perspex to create a haunting installation, responding to the gallery architecture.

Booking Link: northsite.org.au/event/northsite-open/


Emma Gardner is an interdisciplinary artist based in Meanjin/Brisbane, Australia. Gardner reworks salvaged, silk and organic textiles, and experiments with the laborious and process-driven techniques of cyanotype, trace-monotype and embroidery. The female nude appears figuratively and performatively in her work as she explores the layered meanings within self-portraiture. Her work is grounded in Contemporary Occultism which emphasises the human connection to natural cycles and rhythms.

Learn More: northsite.org.au/artists/emma-gardner/


Planetary Gestures features local and international artists

Planetary Gestures is an exhibition devised to explore ideas surrounding ecological systems, ancient knowledge, celestial blueprints and tidal movements across the land, sea and sky known as Australasia, part of the wider Asia-Pacific and the ‘Great Ocean’. This framework brings together a range of artists who think deeply about alternative geographies; paying respect to the cultural continuum and envisioning a future, not only equipped with this knowledge but also actively enacting it.

In her 2003 text, Death of a Discipline, theorist Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak put forward the proposition, “can we imagine ourselves as planetary subjects rather than global agents, planetary creatures rather than global entities?” Taking this perspective as a starting point, Planetary Gestures aims to open spaces of respect and responsibility for the unique differences and otherness of planetary subjects, human and nonhuman, a particularly relevant and urgent cause to explore in our post-pandemic context today.

Cycles of movement and time will be explored by local and international artists in a group exhibition and publication including Amrita Hepi, Susie Losch, Raqs Media Collective, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Jimmy John Thaiday and Trevor Yeung.

Together, these artists direct us towards where the sea meets the sun; and dare us to imagine a future deeply respectful for the multiplicity of perspectives derived from the many custodians of the planet.

Curated by Tess Maunder for NorthSite Contemporary Arts.

Showing at NorthSite Contemporary Arts, 14 February to 15 April 2023.

FREE ENTRY | Learn More: northsite.org.au/exhibitions/planetary-gestures/


NorthSite Open | 25 MARCH 2023 10AM-12:30PM | $15pp

Planetary Gestures Floor Talk and Publication Launch – Gallery 1

Independent curator and arts worker Tess Maunder will present a guided tour of her exhibition, Planetary Gestures on display in Gallery 1 until April 15.

Tess will share insights about curating Planetary Gestures, as well as launch the exhibition publication. Designed by Nina M. Gibbes, the broadsheet publication features newly commissioned texts by exhibition curator Tess Maunder, NorthSite Director Ashleigh Campbell and Filipino researcher Renan Laru-an .

Copies will be available to purchase on the day via NorthSite Store.

Booking Link: northsite.org.au/event/northsite-open/