Art for Autism

by Jack Wilkie-Jans

Art for Autism, banner photo

Art for Autism, banner photo

On Friday the 16th of August the 'Art for Autism' charity art exhibition will be held at 06:00pm, for a 06:30pm start, at Salt House Restaurant & Bar (Marina Point, 6/2 Pierpoint Rd, Cairns, QLD 4870).

The exhibition is made up of works that have been donated generously by Far North Queensland based Indigenous artists who were invited to participate in this exhibition. The exhibition will take place at the time of this year's Cairns Indigenous Art Fair's series of events- CIAF Presents.

All sales/proceeds of donated works will be donated directly to the event's beneficiary, Autism Queensland Inc. Autism Spectrum Disorder and other emotional and behavioural disorders (EBDs) affect nearly every person in the community, yet are largely misunderstood. The event hopes to raise funds to benefit Autism Queensland Inc. and to also raise the community's awareness and understanding of Autism and other EBDs.

Many people who live with autism and other similar EBDs have extremely creative minds, and due to Autism Spectrum Disorder being one of the most intangible disorders, the Art for Autism organisers decided to present an art exhibition, at the height of the region's creativity, to showcase the talent and reality of people who support autism awareness or who live with autism

The Art for Autism organisers are still seeking expressions of interest from the local Indigenous artist community. One of the main artists to be featured at the exhibition is Cairns based, multi-media artist, Nickeema Williams of Nickeema Williams Art and Photography, who is one of the first artists to come on board and donate artwork to the 'Art for Autism' exhibition.

Nickeema is a Brisbane born, now Cairns based Indigenous artist who specialises in contemporary techniques and styles, creating photographic, painting and multi-media artworks. She is currently undergoing formal arts training and study.

Nickeema Williams Art and Photography:

While artists from all walks of life and at all stages in their career and practice are invited to donate works, some of the artists bring their works of art from a personal place, inspired from living with Autism and Asperger's Syndrome. Interested artists can contact Jack Wilkie-Jans on the contact details provided below.

One of the event's organisers, Contemporary Aboriginal artist, Alumni of the National Gallery of Australia's Wesfarmer's Indigenous Arts Fellowship Program and local artsworker, Jack Wilkie-Jans said about the initiative:

"Cairns is an extremely creative place, we should be very proud of what we have achieved in the last eight or so years! As an artist I came to understand how difficult it can be for young and emerging artists to secure exhibitions, exhibiting space or event venues that will accommodate art installations. I also became very aware of the work Autism Queensland Inc. do within the Cairns community in particular and also aware of the conditions of Asperger's Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder since a close family friend, and tribal namesake, was recently diagnosed with Asperger's. So I, for one, have been able to combine several passions in helping to organise this event, the arts, supporting young and emerging artists, whilst at the same time supporting a charity organisation, who do so much work helping people understand their conditions or conditions of a loved one and helping them manage such conditions which can be very debilitating if severe or unmanaged in order to enable a quality of life and some normalcy regarding day to day activities and social interactions.

"August is when the eyes of the art world nationally and internationally look towards the top of Australia, to Darwin first and then to Cairns a week or so later for our Indigenous Art Fairs. As a contemporary artist with Aboriginal Australian heritage and knowing many creative countrymen and women who live with various kinds of EBDs it made sense to support an exhibition open to all ranges of artists from all stages in professionalism and styles and techniques. The exhibition will be one of the best in quality and adventurous in subject matter and technique of contemporary Indigenous art. So, to have this event held at the time of CIAF Presents is a big bonus for the artists as they will have the benefit of having work on a wall on one of the busiest nights during this year's CIAF Presents period. I hoped to co-incide the exhibition with CIAF Presents because it was one small way we could give back to the artists for their generosity in donating their works for charitable sale. Cairns presents some of the best, world class Indigenous and non-Indigenous art exhibitions and draws the attentions of the international and national art sector time and time again and I hope that holding this exhibition at one Cairns most desired and sought out venues for dining, socialising and event hosting, will ensure that the Art for Autism exhibition will be no different and will not disappoint."

"Basically this is a community art exhibition which benefits the community, so myself and the other organisers have a huge thank you to say to the art community of Cairns. Also a big thank you to Salt House Restaurant and Bar for so generously coming on board as the official venue sponsor".

The Cairns community are invited to attend the exhibition night on the 16th of August at the Salt House and to celebrate the rich diversity of traditional and contemporary Far North Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, while at the same time enjoying one of Cairns' most prestigious water-front dining venues and supporting a great charitable organisation.

There will complimentary canapes and a cash bar available. RSVP no later than the 1st of August to or 04595 93455.

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