I am insanely passionate about supporting the arts in our region. So, when I was invited to the Umi Art Gallery for the Saltwater Freshwater Exhibition 2017, I relished the opportunity to immerse myself in the art and culture of the event. With its goal of strengthening Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural practices, including visual arts, Umi has been instrumental in promoting our region’s talent to global visitors.  It’s difficult to put into words, but viewing the artworks evoked so much emotion in me. I particularly enjoyed that the artists referenced the connection between contemporary and traditional indigenous art. The piece I connected with most was a mixed media canvas called The Dance by local artist Melanie Hava. It had a special feminine touch to it, heightened by the use of my favourite colour – pink. It wasn’t something I expected to see in traditional Indigenous artwork.

Art comes in many different forms and to enjoy two styles in one week was a huge treat. Last Friday’s Guilt Free Comedy night was a laugh and a half, thanks to local comic minds Shad Wicka and Steven Richardson. Interstate comedian Mitch Garling had me in stitches with his relatable content of the trials and tribulations of everyday people. Of course, it would not be a comedy show without the token heckler from the crowd and, like a true professional, Mitch’s quick wit left the heckler red faced. As Shad explained, the Guilt Free Comedy Presents project aims to expose Cairns to more comedy while giving local talents access to experienced and up-and-coming comics for inspiration and advice. If you need yet another reason to come and check these guys out, bar sales from these events are donated to charity.

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