Get Arty in Brissy

A virtual avalanche of art is descending on Brisbane as we creep into the cooler months – thanks to a slew of Brisbane City Council-sponsored arts events and festivals.

From early May through to late July, the Indigenous Arts Program will serve up a vibrant mix of contemporary and ancient art forms from First Nation artists.

“Aunty” Sonja Carmichael is a Quandamooka (Saltwater) woman who works in the medium of fibre – both natural and man-made. For this year’s event, she’s creating a series of woven circles – circles of “life” – to represent the near-loss of traditional aboriginal art forms through colonization and the blending of the traditional and contemporary.

The Indigenous Arts Program will take over some of the city council’s Outdoor Gallery venues – vitrines (art display cases) and light boxes scattered throughout the CBD.

Throughout the rest of the year, these venues bring art directly to the busy streets and funky laneways of Brisbane.

Also on from early May is Brisbane Canvas: a festival where commissioned artists add their brush strokes to the vivid fabric of street art in the city. Fresh art will be popping up across bridges, bikeways, buildings, walls and walkways across the city and suburbs.

The team from creative collective Brightsiders is mentoring half a dozen young artists tasked with creating a street art mural on a bike path in Indooroopilly. Brightsiders is known for its large-scale murals – including an aboriginal-themed piece on the Airport Rail Line at Toombul and a giant humpback whale motif on the Point Cartwright water tower.

Creations for Brisbane Canvas 2019 can be viewed at locations in Bowen Hills, South Brisbane, Gaythorne, Windsor, Sunnybank, Bellbowrie and Bowen Hills.

May’s also the month to witness the second annual flowering of creativity in Brisbane’s heritage-listed City Botanic Gardens. Botanica is a free event and features artworks scattered across the gardens’ beautiful natural landscape.

Proving that just about anything can be enlisted as an art medium, Ross Manning is creating an immersive sound installation in the gardens’ Bamboo Grove. “Vulgaris” will reveal the hidden sonic world of these towering, fast-growing plants – using the natural creaks, groans and whispers of the bamboo.

In another left-of-field artistic project for Botanica, Julie-Anne Milinski is working with grass to create “Circle Work (resting)”. Circular sections of lawn are being allowed to grow wild – highlighting the contrast with carefully manicured lawns elsewhere in the gardens.

Botanica will be on at the Brisbane City Gardens until May 19.

Whether you’re a creator or an appreciator of art, there’s something to engage the imagination as part of the Brisbane City Council’s extensive public art collection – including more than 500 diverse works on show throughout the city and suburbs. And the council’s New City Artworks project will deliver even more art to the city’s heart.

For a further art fix, check out the city’s four public art walking trails focusing on different themes, including the Brisbane River, art and architecture, and the city’s cultural heritage.

It’s all about unshackling art from the walls of museums and galleries and setting it free on the streets of Brisbane – part of the Brisbane City Council’s mission to create more to see and do in the city.