The Platform is a contemporary sculpture project, where commissioned artworks are displayed adjacent to the Mt Coot-tha Visitor Information Centre in the Mt Coot-tha precinct. After a time, the sculptures are relocated and included in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha sculpture trail as part of Brisbane City Council's public art collection.
Native Still Life - Tony Albert
Native Still Life is inspired by the stunning native flowers that exist in context of botanical gardens and responds to how historically, these flowers have been visually associated with Aboriginal people through western home décor, adding to the construction of our national identity.
These popular appropriated images have adorned the Australian tourist market for decades and are recognised globally in reference to Australia’s identity. Tony deconstructs this imagery, giving back autonomy to the Aboriginal voices originally silenced in these objects, by reconfiguring, re-appropriating and intersecting them through this artwork.
“I aspire to create work that is not only visually appealing, but more importantly acts as a vehicle for stimulating discussion and creating change. As a visual artist I have the opportunity to communicate the historical truths that the education system, the media and society as a whole, denied me as a child.”
Tony Albert is a Brisbane-based Aboriginal artist. His works are provoked by stereotypical representations of Aboriginal people and Australia’s colonial history.
For a deeper engagement into Tony’s art practice, visit the Museum of Brisbane website to create your own MoB Makers: Collaborative Collage with Tony Albert, commissioned as part of Brisbane City Council’s Indigenous Art Program 2021.
The first commission Remainders 20 & 21, by acclaimed Australian artist Jamie North, consists of two cast bronze spheres punctuated with stippled holes allowing living Ficus to bind and grow from the interior.
Melbourne-based artist and designer Anna Varendorff installed the second commission, Large Arcs, in July 2018.
The 2019 commission Gone to Seed by Perth-based artist Stuart Green, is a vibrant, husk-like form.
Installed in August 2020, northern New South Wales artist Hiromi Tango artwork Roots expresses the artist's desire to be grounded in her adopted home of Australia, whilst creating space for her identity, culture and memories linked to a traditional upbringing in regional Japan.
Roots artwork video
Roots artwork video
This is a transcript of the 5.30 minute video about the Roots artwork by Hiromi Tango at The Platform, Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha.
>> HIROMI: Take a seat wherever you feel comfortable with, and you can move around too. Our head gardener, Brett, said to me, “Hiromi, this is once off because it is a struggle for us to get. It takes 40 years to grow, and it grows high.”
My name is Hiromi Tango. I’m an artist who is interested in generating healing conversations through arts engagement. I was interested in how this beautiful botanic garden, and what kind of care, and love, and passion’s involved, and the challenges. We decided to hold workshops, and then we explore in the garden and find the natural materials, which has got some connection to each gardener. My purpose here is to be responsive to you. So me, as an artist, really I’m providing the opportunities for us to get together, and your identity, your philosophy being involved with botanic garden.
>> GARDENS STAFF MEMBER 1: So I started close to the office with one of my favourite plants from the area which is the black bean, or Moreton Bay Chestnut.
>> VOLUNTEER STAFF MEMBER 1: I’ve put together a number of very diverse plants here.
>> GARDENS STAFF MEMBER 2: Well, the pod’s off a tree called the happy tree.
>> HIROMI: Happy tree!
We say, you know, we follow the voice of nature, and I followed the garden carers.
>> VOLUNTEER STAFF MEMBER 2: Have you seen the caterpillars on the terminalia?
>> All: No.
>> VOLUNTEER STAFF MEMBER 2: They've stripped the leaves completely.
>> All: Oh, yeah!
>> VOLUNTEER STAFF MEMBER 2: But if you go up close to the tree and look in the furrows you can see all of the caterpillars.
>> All: Oh!
The creation of the work straight after the workshop, I would take to Phillip, at the foundry.
>> HIROMI: Now, the preparation is made, and we’ll find out how they’re going to communicate to each other.
The concept has further evolved. Originally, I was imagining of the vigorous energy pushing the ground, and things grow, and the roots are more intertwined with the actual nature’s energy, almost. I imagined, giving, asking the permission to the nature of the roots to harmoniously open up and form like a dandelion seed. Pointy energy, and the circular harmonious energies are different energy, and I felt we need more warmth. I’m actually adding, maybe, humanity into the nature, if nature give us a cuddle.
>> HIROMI: So I thought it would be helpful to work on the...It’s inspiration only.
>> HIROMI: Collaboration is important for me, because the connection, the physical connection, it is something about the energy. When we are in a same space we generate energy, and that electricity, we as animal, we all enjoy. I really care about what arts can do to connect us and how we could engage or encourage wellness.
>> HIROMI: I really would like that viewers feel the process of engaging with gardeners, the process of engaging with gardeners, and the carers of the garden, and celebrate their contribution of these wonderful botanic gardens. Often we appreciate this beautiful garden, but we forget how much effort and love has been put to grow this beautiful garden.
View a photo gallery of The Platform artworks.