Since their inception in 2009 UMI Arts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Markets have proven to be extremely popular and gained recognition among many as the event to be attended! They were held on the Cairns Esplanade where locals and visitors alike came together, to enjoy, learn about, and share in the celebration of traditional Indigenous arts and culture in Far North Queensland.
UMI Arts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Markets provided 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 and 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.
In 2012 UMI Arts rolled out a new pilot program called "UMI Got Talent", which was about capacity building in local communitities around Cairns. UMI Got Talent replaced the UMI Arts Indigenous Markets in 2012. Although UMI Got Talent was very successful and was attended by many, UMI Arts could not ignore the many requests to bring back the Markets.
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 advancing individuals and businesses knowledge 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.
For two days only, on 11 and 12 December, 2015, UMI Arts brought back the Indigenous Arts Markets- with a twist. Over the two days, UMI Arts' Sheridan Street premises were converted in to a Market extravaganza. Inside the Galleries and filling the entire outdoor area were market stalls galore with over 15 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, craftspeople and small businesses showcasing and selling their handmade and produced art, craft and design works.
The December, 2015 Indigenous Markets were a success with a large number of locals and visitors coming through the Markets, meeting stall holders and purchasing unique items, directly from the artists.