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Cairns moves to new cultural beat

URBAN BLAKtivation will surprise and delight visitors to Cairns’ Shields Street cultural precinct with a live and free First Nations showcase from 4.30-8pm on Saturday, 21 October.

Originally slated in advance of CIAF’s 14th season, held 13 to 16 July this year, Urban BLAKtivation was postponed due to heavy rain but it returns this month with its supercharged, culturally immersive program.

Delivering a lively and culturally inclusive experience, Urban BLAKtivation extends CIAF’s First Nations footprint with a unique satellite event for the first time in its 14-year history.

Urban BLAKtivation will artistically and culturally intensify the CBD with a program comprising of sculptural installations, digital animations and projections, contemporary Indigenous dance performances from Miriki Performing Arts and Mulungu Aboriginal Corporation, traditional dancing by Gerib Sik Torres Strait Islander Dancers, Deaf Indigenous Dance Group (DIDG), storytellers, and poets Dorita Wilson, Elverina Johnson and Trinity Clarke. 

CIAF’s Artistic Director Francoise Lane said a special highlight of the evening will be the projection of an animated series of artworks from artists at Pormpuraaw Arts and Culture, Lockhart River Arts Indigenous Corporation, Yarrabah Arts and Cultural Precinct and Yalanji Arts.

“This year, we certainly lifted CIAF’s programming to a new and unprecedented level, and with future growth in mind, we blended much-loved favourites with fresh newcomers to capture the attention and imaginations of visitors and deliver meaningful experiences,” she said.

“Urban BLAKtivation is the first in a series of signature events CIAF is planning to roll out in future years and is the culmination of community collaboration and partnerships and working together to showcase our First Nations people, their creativity, talent, and cultural ways.”

To deliver Urban BLAKtivation, CIAF has worked with Cairns Regional Council, Renew Cairns, AFL Cape York House, Bonemap, Jam Pro Lighting, and many artists.

According to Ms Lane, the title, Urban BLAKtivation, is a portmanteau play on words incorporating the adjective Urban, which relates to and constitutes a city or town. BLAK, is a word created by one of Australia’s leading Indigenous artists, Destiny Deacon, to reclaim a colonialist word and create a means of self-definition and expression (by taking the ‘c’ out of black). And the noun, Activation, to make capable of action.

Urban BLAKtivation is funded by Arts Queensland QASP funding and is supported by Cairns Regional Council, Renew Cairns, and Shields Street retailers.

Keep up with the latest news in Cairns and the Far North, and check out some of our top stories this week: Historical society celebrates milestones and Serial thieves charged for property offences.

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