Artwork detail: Luke Mallie, Currumbin Valley Sunset (2023)

Established in 2016, the Indigenous Art Program showcases some of the most celebrated and widely recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and their stories. With over 80 artists exhibited to date, the program continues to celebrate and acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's depth and strength of culture, and understanding of the land called 'Australia'.

The program, located throughout the Outdoor Gallery, transforms Brisbane's streets and laneways into an exhibition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artworks in various places and spaces, including large-scale banners, light boxes, vitrines and projections. The program is also accompanied by a series of public programs, including walking tours, artist talks and workshops.

'Reflections: A reflection of Brisbane’s waterways'

The 2023 exhibition titled 'Reflections: A reflectionof Brisbane's waterways' ran from June-October 2023 and featured new and existing artworks from promising emerging and early career Brisbane-based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. The exhibition was curated by Creative Nations.


Take a guided (narrated) online tour of the 'Reflections: A reflection of Brisbane's waterways' artworks in the Outdoor Gallery by watching the video below. Alternatively, watch the video in Council's YouTube account.


>> NARRATOR: Join us for the Indigenous Art Program 2023: 'Reflections'.

Maiwar, by Tai Bobongie, Olkola nation. To the traditional owners and the custodians of this country, some of the river is known as Maiwar. Maiwar invites us to look at the hidden layers of history in places that we know and are very familiar with. Many of these places in Brisbane have layered history that is not always visible on the surface.

Way of the Beizam, by Talia Saylor, Manbarrah and Erub nation. Way of the Beizam is talking about sharks and the relationship between the artist’s connection to water and salt- water animals but also salt water being here in the city in the river. And the sharks that are here in Brisbane also can be found in the artist’s traditional homelands – Palm Island and also in the Torres Straits.

This is Brisbane by Lewis James, Yidnji and Meriam nation. This is Brisbane is a collection of photos that talk about Brisbane and give us time to reflect on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community within Brisbane and also Brisbane that we know. So in This is Brisbane, you’ll also see the Aboriginal flag repeated, showing the importance of place in Brisbane, one of these places being Musgrave Park – a very important place for the traditional owners and also all of Brisbane’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Family Connections by Kylie Hill, Kalkadoon and Waanyi nations. In this artwork, we see the family connections through the turtle system. Certain animals, certain sea life belong to certain families. Together, they make one artwork but they both mirror image just like the reflections in the water.

Reflections by Nicole Williams, Kuku Djangan and Ugar nations. Reflections is a two-chapter vitrine space that shows mixed media art. Nicole also uses recycled items in her artwork process which creates more conversation about what is happening within her artwork. Within this artwork, there is hidden poetry. If you take the time to look and read, there is hidden knowledge, like all Aboriginal art.

Whichway the Old Ways by Dean Tyson, Gurang and Quandamooka nations. This artwork was created in respect and to honour the traditional owners of Brisbane City. The white cross’s with the red dots talks about some of these places that had massacres, poisonings, some of the bad history of Brisbane whilst highlighting all the beauty of this country that you can see in the yellow dots, residential areas, ceremonial areas. All of this together creates the Brisbane city that we know from the ancient times until the present time now and it creates conversation.

River Dreaming, by Ben Barker, Woorimi nation. River Dreaming – sometimes we think of dreaming at night-time but there’s also another terminology for Aboriginal artists which can correlate to the word ‘story’ or ‘stories’, so when we look at River Dreaming, it’s the story within the river. This artwork talks about the river itself as an entity, as an energy, as a living life force and it sustains life within.

Greater Brisbane, 1798 by Brett Leavy, Kooma nation. Greater Brisbane 1798’s interactive map that shows us time and place in 1798 of Aboriginal Brisbane. This artwork invites us to look at Brisbane through another lens utilising stories and history in digital spaces in a digital time.

Many Lands, by Paula Dewis, Wuthathi and Boigulaig nation. Many Lands show us the many connections that we have through our bloodlines. Different family lines of the artist also connect them to different places of country which we can see in the artwork. There is many styles of artwork in this which also correlates to the many lands that we can find throughout the artist’s bloodlines.

River of Life, by Luke Mallie, Kuku-Yalanji and Moa nation. River of Life is a collection that goes from black and white contrast artwork to vibrant, colourful artwork that talks about pre-colonisation and also, in the present time now, our culture surviving but also thriving. The projection at Howard Smith Wharves can be seen from afar and draws you in to take in the life of the river. This artwork talks about the river of life, but also brings life to the river and place.


The Reflections exhibition included artworks by these artists.

Tai Bobongie (Olkola)


Find out about Tai

Tai Bobongie is a young Indigenous and Māori photographer based in Brisbane. His event-based photography practice is predominately focused on music festivals, although has also captured a wide range of other events, artworks, performances, studio and school programs across Queensland.

Taliah Saylor (Manbarra/Erubian)


Find out about Taliah

Taliah Saylor is of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and South Sea Islander heritage. Born in Brisbane, she is an emerging visual artist whose artwork has developed over the past eight years and expresses her connection to Country and her people.

Lewis James Bin Doraho (Yidnji/Meriam)


Find out about Lewis

Lewis James Bin Doraho is a creative freelance photographer and videographer based in Brisbane. Since turning his self-taught photography practice into a business in 2014, Lewis has been capturing social history including cultural events, community, celebrations and life, using Brisbane as his blank canvas.

Luke Mallie (Kuku-Yalanji/Moa)


Find out about Luke

Luke Mallie is of both Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent with ties to the Kuku Yalanji Nation in the Daintree, North of Cairns, North Queensland, and from Kubin Village on Moa Island in the Torres Strait Islands. With a Bachelor of Fine Art (majoring in painting) and a Bachelor of Multimedia Studies, Luke’s drive to create stems from knowing his artwork inspires and empowers others to discover something amazing in their own lives and perform to their full potential.

Kylie Hill (Kalkadoon/Waanyi)


Find out about Kylie

Kylie Hill is a proud Aboriginal woman from the Kalkadoon and Waanyi mob from Far North Queensland and Mount Isa, living in the wider Brisbane area. Together with her family, Kylie has painted many murals and designed various artworks that have been shared all over the world. She also designs artworks for Reconciliation Action Plans, fashion and homeware products, as well as for sorry business within communities.

Nicole Williams (Kuku Djangan/Ugar)


Find out about Nicole

Nicole Williams calls Cairns home although she has been living in Brisbane for the past 10 years. Her family connected her to Kuku Djungan Country in Far North Queensland, Ugar (Stephen Island) in the Torres Strait, Daly River Mob in the Northern Territory and Burketown/Doomadgee in Northwest Queensland.

Nicole is a multidisciplinary artist working across all forms of art - design, printmaking, poetry, calligraphy, and painting. Her art practice aims to share love, stir the pot, challenge people’s ideas and tackle complacency wherever it lurks.

Dean Tyson (Gurang/Quandamooka)


Find out about Dean

Dean Tyson is a celebrated Goori (Aboriginal) artist living in South East Queensland. Honouring his ancestors and family through his art, career and within community, belonging to the Meerooni tribe of Gurang Nation and Ngugi tribe of Quandamooka Nation. As an artist, he shares his knowledge and a Goori way of thinking.

Ben Barker (Woorimi)


Find out about Ben

Ben Barker is a contemporary Aboriginal artist that believes art is the glue that bonds culture to the physical world. He describes his artwork as contemporary dreaming art, inviting viewers to experience their own dreaming and evoking a natural awakening.

Bilbie XR Labs, Brett Leavy (Kooma)


Find out about Brett

Brett Leavy is an Australian artist and the founder of Bilbie XR Labs, an innovative company that creates cutting-edge immersive experiences using virtual and augmented reality technologies. With a background in both art and technology, he has been at the forefront of digital art for over two decades, exhibiting around the world and winning awards.

Paula Dewis (Wuthathi/Boigulaig)


Find out about Paula

Paula Dewis is of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Malayan heritage. Paula’s father’s heritage is of the Boigu Island, in the Torres Straits (Malu Kiwai – Kalau Kawau Ya language group) and her mother’s grandmother is of Aboriginal heritage with traditional connections to the Wuthathi Clan, Cape York in Queensland.

More information

You can also learn more about other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs and initiatives hosted by Council. 

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Brisbane City Council acknowledges this Country and its Traditional Custodians. We pay our respects to the Elders, those who have passed into the dreaming; those here today; those of tomorrow.