Botanica artworks | Brisbane City Council

The following artworks will be on display around the City Botanic Gardens as part of Botanica from 6-15 April 2018.




James and Eleanor Avery

Painted plywood and timber.

A ‘stile’ allows access across a fence or hedgerow. Stile is fabricated from painted plywood and timber and sits atop Residence Hill. Stile refers to the romanticising and claiming of nature as seen in formal public gardens and those often depicted in neo-classical style paintings of the Australian landscape. However, Stile isn’t part of a barrier or boundary. It represents the duality of restriction and access and the issues of ownership that this presents. It represents a fence with steps over it, flanked by decorative topiary. The colours and form of Stile reference early/mid 20th century ceramics and tableware which depict stylised views of bucolic landscape. This period in history reflects the development and urban growth in Brisbane city at that time.

You are invited to climb over the Stile to become an active participant in the artwork.

Join the artists in an artist talk.


Trophy Specimen

Priscilla Bracks and Gavin Sade

Recycled plastic, wire and fabric sourced and reprocessed from post-consumer waste, custom electronics and custom code.

This installation fuses the aesthetic of Victorian-era botanical gardens with speculative future visions, inspired by nature’s tendency to adapt to human influence.

In its early years, Brisbane’s City Botanic Gardens was a site for preservation, research and pleasure, with exotic ornamental gardens, new, experimental cash crops, and a zoo featuring animals from across the world. Trophy Specimen points to this practice of fetishising exotic species, whilst suggesting the paradoxical effects of human interference in nature through exploration, collecting, science, and progress.

The work’s palette of industrial materials and coded design gives each organism an alien feel. Are these specimens part of a dystopic, future collection? Did humans create these creatures, or did they put themselves together from the waste we leave behind? The creatures come to life flickering and glowing more brightly as people approach, suggesting an intelligence or form of communication quite different to our own.

Join the artists in a workshop and artist talk



Natalie Billing

Unearthed is a mobile phone app available to download.

Hidden history is written back onto the landscape of the gardens in digital form. Like memory it is both present and absent.

Accessing the artwork via their smartphones, visitors are able to explore seven sites of historical interest between the Central Avenue and the Brisbane River.

Look back at the tenure of the garden’s first Curator, Walter Hill in the late 1800s, and witness firsthand how today’s garden with its mature trees records his work. In those early days of Brisbane, the gardens were a testing ground from which Queensland’s Agricultural Industry grew.

For Unearthed Billing has enlisted local Game Developer Joshua Textor to create a truly ephemeral public artwork.

Join the artists in a workshop.

Unearthed App instructions

Download the free Unearthed App in your app store, and head to the gardens to explore seven sites of historical interest. (Search: Unearthed Botanica).


App design by Joshua Textor.


Botanical Cube

Man & Wah

Photography and video projection installation.

NOTE: This work contains light projection which may not be visible in daylight. For optimal lighting conditions it is best viewed after sunset.

Botanical Cube is inspired by what astronauts call the 'overview effect' or 'the orbital perspective', where their awareness of earth shifts from the vantage of space. Experiencing a global awareness as they witness this 'pale blue dot' floating in a black void, that we are all interconnected on earth, our only known home in space.

Botanical Cube brings together many common plants growing within Brisbane and Queensland that could easily be overlooked, bridging the gap between the everyday and the greater cosmic mysteries of existence. It is a ‘space’ for people to slow down and pause, to deeper contemplate and reflect on their relationship with nature and appreciate the role it plays in sustaining a liveable planet.

Join the artists in a workshop.


This artwork is supported by MAAP - Media Art Asia Pacific.


Waving back

David Harris

Wood, branches, custom electronics and code.

Humans and plants exist in a life-enabling exchange of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nutrients. However, our influences on each other often happen invisibly or over months, seasons, or years. If this timeframe were shortened, how might we interact? Would we be social? Would we better understand how each other’s lives progress? And might we take better care of each other?

In this installation, the interaction between human and tree becomes immediate and visible, encouraging a dialogue of movement as human participants discover how the tree will observe them and reply through motion.

As people move about in the vicinity of the tree, it detects their presence and waves re-attached branches at them depending on their locations and motion.


Supported by Queensland College of Art, Griffith University.


Flourish .of. Tents

Georgina Humphries

Reclaimed tent material, upholstery cotton, gaffa tape, foam, carabiners and wire.

Flourish.of.Tents is a wind activated installation made entirely from discarded tent material. Combining a large kinetic sail with a tactile ground covering, this kaleidoscopic space, celebrates the vibrant, collegial atmosphere of the Commonwealth Games. Designed specifically for the City Botanic Gardens, this interactive work transforms a corner of the green landscape into a colourful outdoor lounge room.

Made entirely by hand, Georgina combines rows of individual pyramids to create a visual spectacle, each one as important as the next that inspires people through its unity and cohesion. Stitched together with exposed seams and dangling threads, this site-specific installation engages the intrigued passer-by with a tangible handcrafted object.

Flourish.of.Tents invites visitors to engage in a playful field of colour by reclining on the blanket and feeling the wind activate the work around them.


Singing Place

Leah King-Smith and Duncan King-Smith

Cane, bamboo, butter muslin, twine, pigments, sound, projected image, LED lights and choral performance.

NOTE: This work contains light projections which may not be visible in the daylight.

Singing Place reflects on the theme of loving relationships in response to Weeping Fig Avenue’s popularity as a site for wedding ceremonies.

Leah and Duncan represent their individual hands of delicate suspended wicker nestle together, while sounds emanating from the site express the coupling of human and environmental voices. At night the wicker forms become luminous with internal light and projected imagery. Multiple voices come together in the form of a choir directed by Dr Kristina Kelman, to perform a selection of Duncan’s original songs. This project combines ephemeral natural forms with human voices, visual imagery and environmental sounds to address the harmonious gathering of diverse cultures and creative energies.

Join the artists in an artist talk and watch the live choral performance.


Supported by Kelvin Grove State College Choir. Original compositions - Duncan King-Smith, Choral Director - Dr Kristina Kelman, Head of Performing Arts - Ms Colleen Toohey-Jones, Accompanist - Ms Zoe Gelzinnis, Queensland University of Technology.


Field Drawing #1

Kerrie Poliness

A choreographed artwork piece that includes an instruction manual, line-marking machine and white lawn-marking paint on grass.

Immersed within the botanical diversity of the gardens, the process of making Field Drawing #1 aims to draw attention to the interdependency and dynamics between natural and manufactured elements.

Field Drawing #1 is a temporary, interactive artwork made by gardeners, caretakers or the general public, according to an instruction manual. A sports field line-marking machine is used to apply white, plant-friendly, water-soluble paint onto lawns and other surfaces. The installation and maintenance of the drawing is a performance, choreographed via the manual.

As prescribed in the manual, whoever makes the artwork decides the location of pivotal points, which slightly warp the linear dynamics of the set pattern and re-determine the scale and orientation on each new site. Just like every leaf on a tree is slightly different, but of the same ‘kind’, each iteration of Field Drawing is unique, the artwork illustrates a similar type of ‘organic’ interdependency.

Join the artist in an artist talk and watch the live installation of the work.


Acknowledgements by Anna Schwartz Gallery. The installation material and equipment support by Dy-Mark Australia.


Say it with flowers

Mona Ryder

Formal flower garden planting scheme made from Snap Dragons Liberty (crimson, white and yellow), Torenia (blue), Curry plant (silver), painted and lacquered Tricoya plywood and steel stakes.

Say it with flowers is a garden installation that uses flowers and their colour to form images and text to communicate. It is a living, integrated artwork.

Plants and their colour take on symbolic qualities with unique significance. Flowers have persuasive powers capable of evoking connections, their colour or species can denote admiration or love, show comfort and remorse, ask for forgiveness or just create sheer pleasure. In this instance, they aim to raise awareness of the importance of foliage and the environment. Extreme weather conditions across the world should make us realise how fragile our environment really is.

The shields around the inner circle are alternatively white birds, a symbol of peace and freedom, and the tree of life. In each circle the flowers form warning signs and in the large inner circle the word fragile is formed.

Join the artist in an artist talk.


This project is a collaboration with City Botanic Gardens staff, in particular Maria Fallon and could not have been achieved without their hard work, expertise, and their choice of the ideal plants to suit the season.


Common Wealth

Pamela See

Recycled paper, soy wax, bamboo skewers and cotton twine.

Common Wealth is a participatory artwork in recognition of the history of the City Botanic Gardens as a site for agrarian experimentation since the mid nineteenth century. Under the curatorship of Walter Hill, several species of flora were introduced to Queensland. This included commercial crops such as tobacco, coffee, mangos, pineapples and custard apples.

Lotus flowers were amongst the ornamental species cultivated.

Lotus flowers are of significance to many cultural groups. To the Buddhists, a floating lotus symbolise resilience and purity. To the Hindus, lotus flowers represent prosperity. To the Egyptians, the lotus connotes rebirth.

Over the ten day exhibition period, members of the public are invited to help create a "common" filled with paper flowers. Contribute to this growing ephemeral work by creating your own paper lotus flower in the drop-in workshops.

Join the artist in an artist talk.


Bastions of Light

Skunk Control

Mixed media installation including electronics, LEDs, light filters, acrylic, organic matter and steel.

This work contains illumination. For optimal lighting conditions it is best viewed at night.

Bastions of Light are agents of light. They quietly watch over the landscape offering solace and seeding our openness to accept new ideas, gain insights and engage with the views and lives of others. Over countless millennia they have evolved to capture light, store it and release it when darkness takes hold and when light seems distant and far away. They are our defenders and those of enlightenment.

Join the artist in an artist talk.


This artwork is supported by Victoria University.


Garden Memory

Lisa Sorbie Martin

Etched artwork on perspex/acrylic and aluminium.

NOTE - This work contains illumination. For optimal lighting conditions it is best viewed at night.

In the words of the artist, "I like to visit the spaces where my work calls to be nestled.

The hot pink Heliconia Psittacorum Lizette – triggered memories of my mum’s lush garden in tropical Far North Queensland. This artwork is dedicated to my mum’s passion for her beautiful garden, filled with tropical fruit trees, vegetables, exotic plants and flowers. A jewel gracefully placed in a majestic garden this is a story of my beautiful Torres Strait Island mother. The patternation and etchings celebrates the hot pink Heliconia that opens its arms to the wet season."

Join the artist in a workshop.


Star Landing

Unqualified Design Studio

Plywood, acrylic, addressable LED audio and electronics. Existing artwork Morning Star.

NOTE - This work contains light projection which may not be visible in daylight. For optimal lighting conditions it is best viewed after sunset.

A piece of stardust has crash-landed in the City Botanic Gardens. Researchers have set up a temporary facility to examine the mysterious object, probing it with soundwaves in order to better understand its properties. Will you help us uncover its strange origins…?

Star Landing is a homage to the power of imagination in a cynical world. The piece aims to instil participants with a sense of wonder and curiosity in the world around them, offering a playful take on the mystery of physical phenomena that we experience every day - sound and light.

Through an interactive user interface, participants control different parts of the projection-mapped performance unfolding before them, working together to co-create an audio-visual spectacle.


Created with permission from Morning Star sculptor, Jon Barlow Hudson.



Craig Walsh

Digital projection and an existing tree.

NOTE - This work is a light projection which may not be visible in daylight. For optimal lighting conditions it is best viewed after sunset.

In the words of the artist, "Monuments is an ongoing project which creates temporal monuments to everyday individuals who have a strong connection to the site the work occupies.

This project represents a haunting synergy between the human form, natural environment and the act of viewing. Moving images transform trees into sculptural monuments surveying the immediate environment.

The work aims to challenge traditional expectations of public monuments and the selective history represented in our civic spaces. There is a temporary fusion of everyday individuals with other living species occupying shared areas. Undermining the permanent historical and public art models so often controlled by subjective motivations, Monuments recognises the infinite contributions which influence our understanding of place.

Join the artist in an artist talk.


This monument recognises John Gordon, nominated by his peers and fellow workers as being strongly connected to the site, and is celebrating 45 years as a gardens staff member this year.


Hairy Eyrie

Zana Wright

Materials from the gardens including palm fronds, bamboo poles, bamboo leaves, palm fruits, Blue Quandong nuts and Bunya pine leaves.

Hairy Eyrie seeks to discover a vernacular architecture unique to the City Botanic Gardens, through translating its plant materials into built form.

An eyrie is a large nest built by eagles on tree-tops or cliff-faces – an enduring work of architecture to which the bird returns to add material year after year.

Unlike our modern shelters which are vastly ‘non-places’ built from a universal palette of concrete, steel & glass, the eagle’s eyrie is ‘of its place’, built from the landscape which surrounds it.

Much dialogue exists around ‘eating local’, yet we rarely hear of the benefits of ‘building local’ by using what we’ve got in our immediate radius. Hairy Eyrie hopes to spark this conversation and to ground you in this place, here, now.

Join the artists in a workshop and artist talk.


Visit me_ HONEYBEE

Trish Adam

Digital video accessed by QR code.

Visit me_HONEYBEE is a remote access artwork. An explanatory sign in the gardens gives viewers instructions and displays the QR Code needed to activate the artwork. Once this QR Code is activated, a video loop showing real honeybees, filmed in close-up at The University of Queensland, begins to play on the viewer’s smartphone.

The size of the honeybees in the video on the phone screen in relation to the participant’s hands gives the illusion that viewers are actually holding the honeybees themselves. When seen in this way, the comparative size of the honeybees and the viewer’s hands gives an intimate, almost magical, sensory connection to the private world of the little honeybees that promotes reflections on interspecies connectivity and environmental awareness.

Links on the Visit me_HONEYBEE website provide further information on the serious issue of Colony Collapse Disorder and the endangered status of the honeybee worldwide.


This artwork is supported by Honeybee Research Access – Srinivasan Laboratory, Visual & Sensory Neuroscience Group, Queensland Brain Institute and The University of Queensland. The original cinematography is by Dr Nikolai Liebsch and specialist technical support is by Roundhouse AV Service.

Join the artist in an artist talk.

More information

For more information about the exhibition and the exhibiting artists visit Botanica.

05 February 2019