Umi Arts


Celebrate with us | Our art | Our stories.

Throughout the year UMI Arts present a range of exciting and engaging events that draw audiences together to celebrate the distinctive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and cultural traditions of this unique part of the world.

Big Talk One Fire

UMI Arts Big Talk One Fire Indigenous Cultural Festival is UMI Arts’ annual signature event, held at Fogarty Park, on the tropical Cairns Esplanade. Big Talk One Fire is a free, family-friendly concert that brings together headlining and supporting local Indigenous bands, traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dance performers, and pop-up Indigenous market stalls. This event aims to showcase and promote the best of Tropical North Queensland to a large and varied audience.

The inaugural Big Talk One Fire Indigenous Cultural Festival took place in 2009 at the Cairns Civic Theatre as a cultural celebration held over several days. Since then, this event has grown to such extent that it is now a standalone cultural celebration event, held in a large public venue to accommodate a rapidly increasing crowd of over 5,000 people.

The Big Talk One Fire Indigenous Cultural Festival is delivered in partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts, Arts Queensland, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Queensland and the Cairns Regional Council.

Big Talk One Fire Symposium

The UMI Arts Symposium is a free event and open to all members of UMI Arts and invited guests through an Expression of Interest process. Members are encouraged to participate in sessions which will:

  • Provide opportunities for artist to meet other likeminded business professionals.
  • Share experiences of how they have adapted their businesses in response to COVID.

Partners from our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts sector will present current opportunities and provide a safe, community environment for members to share talents and learn side by side.

The Arts Symposium will:

  • Provide opportunities to reconnect the Indigenous arts sector post COVID.
  • Create a community atmosphere where we can share information and learn together.
  • It is envisaged the Symposium sessions promote Cultural Strengthening.
  • Encourage members of our Indigenous arts and cultural sector to yarn up with one another in discussing and sharing their stories during the event.

It is anticipated these sessions will inspire members to stay connected, upskill and create.

The Arts Symposium is targeted towards UMI Arts members as a free event. Artists must either reside or work in Tropical North Queensland or, identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, with a bloodline connection to a cultural group within the UMI Arts footprint which extends north of Cairns to the Torres Strait Islands, south to Cardwell, west to Camooweal and includes the Gulf and Mt Isa regions.

UMI Arts Markets

Since their inception in 2009 UMI Arts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Markets have proven to be extremely popular and gained recognition as a “not to be missed event”. The markets are held on the Cairns Esplanade where locals and visitors come together to enjoy, learn about, and share in the celebration of traditional Indigenous arts and cultures of Tropical North Queensland.

The UMI Arts Markets provide a platform for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stall holders, artists, musicians and dancers to come together to show, sell and talk about their culture. Over the years, the Markets have showcased performers from local, Cape York and Torres Strait Island communities, including bands and dance troupes such as Reggae Bliss, Djun Djun Jarra, Injinoo Dancers, Rainforestation Aboriginal Dancers, Gerib Sik, Zennith, Cold Water Band, Black Image Band, Guy Enosa, and many more talented performers and bands.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander musicians, performers and cultural practitioners, the markets provide employment and showcasing opportunities, as well as a venue for establishing and growing small business ventures. The markets play a key role in providing business experience and economic sustainability. It is also a free event that allows everyone to come together to meet, share and celebrate on the beautiful setting of the Cairns waterfront.

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