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)

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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.



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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).
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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.
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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

School holiday program released

NorthSite Contemporary Arts have announced the next release of their School Holiday Program, following the success of the previous School Holiday Program delivered in January 2023.

The new set of School Holiday Programs include Street Art by North Queensland aerosol artist Wally Wallwork, Drawing in the gallery, Creating unique underwater-themed Bag Tags, Watercolour collage art inspired from the current exhibitions, Stop Animation workshop with James Collins and sculpting waves using air-dried clay with artist Susie Losch. These program will run from 3 April – 15 April 2023.

NorthSite’s Program Coordinator Katrina Iosia said, “These programs are a great way for kids to connect with new friends and develop creative thinking skills during the School Holidays.”.

PROGRAM BOOKING LINK: northsite.org.au/events/


Daniel Wallwork | Street art
Daniel Wallwork aka Wally, is a Cairns based professional artist and graffiti artist and one of Far North Queensland’s most dynamic and active youth arts workers and a long term creators of art in public, murals and legal street arts.

Honing his graffiti skills in FNQ since the early 1990’s and later helping to shape and pioneering the development of legal aerosol arts in Queensland, Wally has coordinated and completed many of the largest and most recognisable street art and mural projects across the Far North, including Cape York and beyond.

Through his lifelong passion and determination, Wally has developed a unique arts practice and small business in Cairns, actively sharing and using his skills and artistic vision to promote aerosol art and street art and their growing acceptance of both as contemporary art by the community.

This has included working closely with many local councils to guide policy and deliver hundreds of hands-on aerosol workshops, inspiring thousands of young people and community members all over Queensland.

Wally regularly works closely with many regional and remote communities to tell their stories by transforming walls, spaces and buildings with vibrant artworks that inspire community pride of and a sense of identity.

James Collins | Stop animation
James Collins is a passionate professional with over 20 years of experience in the Education and Technology sector, facilitating STEM workshops across Far North Queensland and the Torres Straits, which blend education, technology, and the arts. He has dedicated his career to fostering curiosity and innovation promote cultural storytelling, digital inclusion, and literacy.

Collaborating with industry leaders like Telstra, Puma Energy, and Arts Queensland, James has also partnered with local Councils, organisations, and schools to successfully implement projects that seamlessly integrate traditional knowledge and modern educational approaches, technology, and arts initiatives. This has enabled James to create lasting impact throughout communities, making him an inspiring figure in the world of learning and development.

Katrina Iosia | Water colour collage art, Bag Tags, Drawing in the gallery
Katrina Iosia is an arts educator and artist who trained in printmaking and studio practice and is highly regarded in the digital design and art fields. She’s recently relocated from Auckland, NZ to Cairns to deliver art education and experiences with NorthSite Contemporary Arts.

Susie Losch | Sculpting waves
Susie Losch is an artist based in North East Victoria, Australia. Susie has been making art for more than 25 years and her work is regularly exhibited in solo exhibitions and group shows, community art projects and installations.

Her practice involves the construction of assemblages from materials that have an intrinsic history. Through means of casting of combining incongruous forms and objects, the message is not strident but injected with subtle humour. Influenced by concept of play and the unknown, bodies of work emerge and are constantly evolving. They retain remnant memories, experiences and new observations from time spent travelling. Losch is currently exploring air as a minimalist matter to inflate and deflate sculptures into form and movement.