Brisbane City Council's Outdoor Gallery transforms Brisbane's laneways and city streets into imaginative, curious, and engaging spaces. Comprising light boxes, banners, vitrines, and evening projections, the Outdoor Gallery displays art outside in city streets, instead of inside on gallery walls. Recently, the Outdoor Gallery has grown to now include art projections at Howard Smith Wharves.

APT9 Kids is currently exhibiting in the Outdoor Gallery and the Indigenous Art Program 2021: Hyperlocal will be exhibiting from 1 May.

Share your experience of the Outdoor Gallery exhibitions and public programs using #BNEPublicArt.

Indigenous Art Program 2021: Hyperlocal

From 1 May to 31 July 2021, explore the Hyperlocal exhibition throughout the Outdoor Gallery, featuring new and existing artworks from Australia's leading Aboriginal artists. The exhibition will be complemented by an exciting program of tours, talks and workshops for children and adults.

Recent events have changed our ability to travel and during 2020 there was a recognisable shift in our appreciation for community resources, homegrown produce, and locally sourced skills and services. This program profiles Aboriginal artists that remained in Brisbane during 2020 and is representative of the global success produced in our own backyard.

For more information about each artist and our public program of events, view our Indigenous Art Program page.

View our map to help navigate your way around our Outdoor Gallery.

Fish Lane - light boxes

artist: vernon ah kee
artwork: unwritten (2011-present)
medium: charcoal drawing


Find out about Vernon and his artwork

Artist: Vernon Ah Kee

Vernon Ah Kee (born 1967) is an Australian award-winning artist, political activist and founding member of ProppaNOW. He is an Aboriginal Australian man with ties to the Kuku Yalandji, Waanji, Yidinji, and Gugu Yimithirr peoples in Queensland. His art practice typically focuses on his Aboriginal Australian identity and place within the modern Australian framework.

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Artwork: Unwritten, 2011

Vernon Ah Kee’s Unwritten series of works are a critique of race and politics in Australia. Ah Kee looks to explore the experiences of invisibility that indigenous people navigate every day. The work deconstructs the way in which stereotypes function and influence perceptions of individual identity. Ak Kee talks to these stereotypes as having gone through phases of historical regression and progression, now sliding into a phase always improving, but always negative. Always in a deficit. Always less than. Less than what is considered Australian and often (historically) less than what is considered human.

The works are in a process of always becoming human, forming and shaping themselves before being reduced into nothingness. However, these works are in fact portraits of ordinary aborigines, ordinary people. All thought the only identifiable features being western ones as they appear how this country desires to perceive them. This gives the works an appearance of western universality, a universality born through the way that Aboriginal people gain acceptance in the national narrative. Acceptance gained through exhibiting western behaviours and ideals, through a lens of assimilation that controls how one must speak, how one must dress, and how one must act.

Hutton Lane - light boxes

artist: tony Albert
artwork: a conversation with Margaret Preston series (2021)
medium: acrylic and vintage appropriated paper

Find out about Tony and his artwork

Artist: Tony Albert

Tony Albert has achieved extraordinary visibility and much critical acclaim for his visual art practice, which combines text, video, drawing, painting, and three-dimensional objects. Examining the legacy of racial and cultural misrepresentation, particularly of Australia's Aboriginal people, Albert has developed a universal language that seeks to rewrite historical mistruths and injustice.

Albert has been awarded a prestigious residency at the International Studio & Curatorial Program in New York. He has a major monument in Sydney's Hyde Park dedicated to Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander military service. Albert's work can be seen in major national and international galleries and private collections. In 2018, Albert had a major solo exhibition at Queensland Art Gallery.

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Artwork: A conversation with Margaret Preston series, 2021

Conversations with Margaret Preston is a metaphorical collaboration between Tony Albert and Margaret Preston which deconstructs the use of indigenous iconography within the national identity. Preston was one of the country’s leading artists in the early 20th Century, she embarked on a quest to foster an Australian identity and as a result, was one of the first non-indigenous people to appropriate indigenous art practices in her work. While Albert perceives her intentions as meaningful, this appropriation triggered an onslaught of cultural pillaging for domestic and décor products.

Albert looks at the ideas and philosophies behind Preston’s push to create a visual national identity and branding which created a saturated market of, kitsch, objects stereotypically depicting Aboriginal people and their culture, termed by Albert as 'Aboriginalia'.

In this work Albert turns the tables on history, cheekily reclaiming the designs and motifs from Preston’s works to honour the subjects and voices of the work’s original creators.

Eagle Lane - light boxes

artist: gordon Hookey
artwork 1: murriland! (2015) - acrylic on canvas
artwork 2: wallaroo (2015) - custom printed linen

Find out about Gordon and his artwork

Artist: Gordon Hookey

Gordon Hookey was born in Cloncurry, Queensland in 1961. He currently lives and works in Brisbane. Hookey belongs to the Waanyi people and locates his art at the interface where Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultures converge.

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Artwork 1: MURRILAND!, 2015

Hookey’s series of monumental paintings MURRILAND! (2015-present) are an ongoing project depicting the history of Queensland. The works renegotiate westernised recordings of history to insert and assert Indigenous voice and significance in our national identity. The works navigate narratives of oppression and violence through vivid heroic, humorous, and confronting vernacular tales.

Hookey utilises both Western written and Indigenous oral histories to support an exclamation of the agency and validity within Indigenous law and lore. The work compares Indigenous creation stories and language groups to Western archives and theories of continental drift and Western archives to show that these written and oral histories and the institutional and cultural systems in place that govern communities are not contrary but are, in fact, corroboratory.

Artwork 2: Wallaroo, 2015

Gordon Hookey's Wallaroo is a cheeky but profound play on words. Drawing from the macropod species, wallaroo, sitting in size between smaller wallabies and larger kangaroos, Hookey depicts a 'wall-a-roos'. The work is a declaration of sovereignty, using the solid, impassable, un-encroach-able notions of a wall to represent the monolithic, uncompromising qualities of Indigenous identity and culture.

King George Square - light boxes

artist: ryan presley
artwork: blood money (2016-19)
medium: watercolour on paper

Find out about Ryan and his artwork

Artist: Ryan Presley

Dr Ryan Presley was born in 1987 in Alice Springs, and currently lives and works in Brisbane. His father’s family is Marri Ngarr and originates from the Moyle River region in the Northern Territory. His mother’s family were Scandinavian immigrants to Australia. His art practice is a reflection of his locale, which he audits and critiques.

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Artwork: Blood Money, 2016-19

Ryan Presley’s Blood Money is a reference to European traditions of wergeld (or ‘blood money’) where payment for conciliation – as a result of responsibility for death or murder – was agreed on and made.

The works explore contemporary Australian history through the depiction of important and notable Aboriginal people. These key figures can teach us valuable historical lessons in regards to their experiences of dispossession, oppression, and the suppression of contrary legacies. From them, we can learn valuable insights that tell us much about cross-cultural histories and Aboriginal relationships with ‘white’ or non-Aboriginal Australia.

The series aims to broadcast and promote important Aboriginal people within the context of Australian history and experience, testifying their intelligence, perseverance, and manoeuvrability. The works challenge the selection of canonised heroes and places silenced indigenous heroes in direct contrast to colonial ‘pioneering’ heroes. This highlights the systematic processes in place to disenfranchise black communities and is an act of intentional storytelling and respectful promotion of notable Aboriginal people that continually fought to protect and retain their complex society and law.

Irish Lane - banners

artist: judy watson
artwork: skullduggery (2021), the skin of Painting (2021)
medium: video art

Find out about Judy and her artwork

Artist: Judy Watson

Judy Watson is an internationally acclaimed multidisciplinary artist. She was born in Mundubbera, Queensland. Judy Watson’s Aboriginal matrilineal family is from Waanyi country in northwest Queensland.

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Artwork: skullduggery, 2021

Judy Watson’s skullduggery stems from research into the early 1930s theft of a skull and king plate from the grave of Aboriginal man, Tiger - known as 'King of the Mines' - of Lawn Hill, near the Gulf of Carpentaria in northwest Queensland. King Tiger's skull and king plate were stolen and presented to Agnes Kerr, Matron at Burketown Hospital, who then sent them to the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum (now Wellcome Collection) in London for their collection after extensive correspondence with the institution. While King Tiger's skull was returned to the National Museum in Canberra in the 2000s, where is awaits repatriation from his community, his king plate remains in the Wellcome Collection.

skullduggery exposes just one account of trading Aboriginal ancestral remains and material culture, while also speaking to the contemporary connection to these from living Aboriginal peoples and the complex issues around repatriation.


Credits from original video artwork:

Voice artists: Dale Browning, Lafe Charlton, Roxanne McDonald
Editor: Joshua Maguire
Sound recordist: Ross Manning
Photography: Carl Warner
Graphic design: Michael Phillips
Script edits: Michele Helmrich
Transcription of archival documents: Georgia Boe, Michele Helmrich
Ochre washes on paper: Judy Watson

Artwork: the skin of painting (2021)

Judy Watson's the skin of painting video work documents a period of the global pandemic through the studio space to connect it to what was happening in the outside world. The video intersperses footage from the studios with graphs plotting the spread of COVID-19 and microscopic images of the virus.


Credits from original video artwork:

Editor: Joshua Maguire
Sound recordist: Ross Manning
Performers: Emma Holgate, Otis Carmichael
Camera: Based Productions, Otis Carmichael, Judy Watson, Carl Warner
Indigo on Canvas: Judy Watson
Salt Drawing: Sandra Selig, Yeronga Paint Factory
COVID-19 graphs: ABC News

Giffin Lane - banner

artist: richard bell
artwork: you can go now (2021)
medium: digital image

Find out about Richard and his artwork

Artist: Richard Bell

Richard Bell is a member of the Kamilaroi, Kooma, Jiman, and Gurang Gurang communities. An activist and artist, Bell works across video, painting, installation, and text to pose provocative, complex, and humorous challenges to our preconceived ideas of Aboriginal art, as well as addressing contemporary debates around identity, place, and politics.

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Artwork: You Can Go Now, 2021

Richard Bell’s You Can Go Now humorously presents Bell’s political views towards colonial Australia. The work engages with his long history of activism through art and flips the traditional relationship between artist and audience by rejecting attention as soon as it is received. The work seeks to hypnotize the viewer through subliminal messaging, luring audiences down the alley to only confront them with a message of dismissal.

Image credit

 Image courtesy of Milani Gallery.

Edison Lane - banner

artist: fiona foley
artwork: the magna carta tree (2021)
medium: photograph - mick richards

Find out about Fiona and her artwork


Fiona Foley, The Magna Carta Tree, 2021. [Vinyl banner]. Photo: Mick Richards.

Artist: Fiona Foley

Dr Fiona Foley is an acclaimed artist and researcher who lectures at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University. Her 2020 publication, Biting the Clouds: A Badtjala perspective on The Aboriginals Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act , 1897 (UQP) is receiving national media attention and is the subject of many reviews in print and radio broadcasts. A retrospective exhibition titled Veiled Paradise will be held at QUT Museum featuring the new photographic work in June 2021.

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Artwork: The Magna Carta Tree, 2021

In the Badtjala language, pirri is the name for mangrove trees. Western science has identified 41 mangrove species from 19 plant families in Australia, and on Tandora, 10 mangrove species reside. Tandora is the name of the cattle property on the northern outskirts of Maryborough and was the starting point for Foley's 2021 series of photographs. Residing here is a grey mangrove, 738 years old and named 'The Magna Carta Tree'.

Foley's The Magna Carta Tree connects two trees – one in England and one in Australia. It draws a correlation between recognition of the environment and the capacity for land and trees to remember what occurs on it and to it. 

The Magna Carta charter was an English treaty for peace that outlined protection of rights, protection from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on taxation. Foley examines the lack of constitutional recognition of First Nations people in Australia and reflects upon the memory of the trees on her own Country and the stories they hold.


Edward Street and Elizabeth Street - vitrine

artist: bianca beetson
artwork: candy coated (2021)
medium: mixed media

Find out about Bianca and her artwork

Artist: Bianca Beetson

Bianca Beetson is a Gubbi Gubbi/Kabi Kabi (Sunshine Coast) Waradjuri (NSW) woman, born in Roma, Queensland. As a visual artist, Bianca works in a broad range of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, photography, and public art. 

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Artwork: Candy Coated, 2021

Bianca Beetson's Candy Coated reverberates with the artist's Aboriginal ancestry. The garment references the possum and kangaroo skin cloaks worn by Indigenous people from the east coast of Australia. Beetson's artwork takes on a contemporary guise and critiques the hyper-consumeristic tendencies of colonial powers. These capitalistic values also speak of overt consumption and possession through the European invasion of Australia in the 18th century. Bianca's early iconic works are synonymous with the colour pink, redefining Indigenous femininity and portraying 'candy coating' ideologies and colonisation.

Edward Street and Queen Street - vitrine

artist: robert andrew
artwork: an inscribed trace (2021)
meduim: mixed media

Find out about Robert and his artwork

Artist: Robert Andrew

Robert Andrew was born in 1965 in Perth, Australia and lives and works in Brisbane. Andrew is a descendant of the Yawuru people whose Country is the lands and waters of the Broome area in the Kimberley Region, Western Australia. His work investigates the personal and family histories that have been denied or forgotten. Andrew’s work speaks to the past, yet articulates a contemporary relationship to Country — using technology to make visible the interconnecting spiritual, cultural, physical, and historical relationships with the land, waters, sky, and all living things. Programmable machinery is combined with earth pigments, ochres, rocks and soil to mine historical, cultural and personal events that have been buried and distanced by the dominant paradigms of western culture. Robert holds a Doctorate in Visual Arts from Griffith University. He participated in Ars Electronica in Austria in 2017 and The National 2019: New Australian Art in 2019. He has had a solo show in Slovenia and been in group shows in Austria, Japan and other overseas venues.

Artwork: An Inscribed Trace, 2021

Robert Andrew’s An Inscribed Trace is a mechanically driven Cartesian plotting system through which Andrew feeds words from his traditional language, Yawuru. The machine translates these words into abstract movements transported through a complex web of wires to ochre and charcoal sticks collected from local bushfires. This process of translation and abstract mark-making causes the initial input of language to be no longer recognisable. The words “now have the freedom to move and to be unconstrained by the inadequacies of literal, linear, written, English translations”. Andrew also alludes to discourses of colonial economies of cultural and natural consumption and those of archaeology and mining through his use of machinery and natural resources. The work presents a system of information suppression through the abstraction of language and the complex installation and programming of how or what the mechanisms are actually doing. An Inscribed Trace frees language and resource from Western ideologies and captures the challenge many communities face in recovering culture and language from the abstraction of history.

Howard Smith Wharves - projector
Museum of Brisbane - video 

artist: archie moore
artwork: carved in stone (2021)
medium: video projection

Find out about Archie and his artwork

Artist: Archie Moore

Archie Moore (born 1970, Toowoomba, lives in Brisbane. Kamilaroi/Bigambul) works across media in portrayals of self and national national histories. His ongoing interests include key signifiers of identity – skin, language, smell, home, flags – as well as the borders of intercultural understanding and misunderstanding, including the wider concerns of racism.

Moore completed his Bachelor of Visual Arts at Queensland University of Technology in 1998. He was awarded the 2018 Creative Industries Faculty Outstanding  Alumni Award by Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane. In 2001, he was awarded the Millennial Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship which enabled him to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague. He has held regular solo exhibitions of his work for two decades in university, not-for-profit and commercial galleries in most states of Australia, as well as being invited to present solo and group shows in New Zealand, Italy, UK, Japan, and Germany.

Artwork: Carved in Stone, 2021

Latin and English words carved in stone on the facades of buildings appearing with a Coat of Arms on official documents reappear here on the Kangaroo Point Cliffs. Some of the buildings were made from the tuff stone, quarried from here, and transport elsewhere. Stone that would have borne ancient Aboriginal rock art or markings of some sort.

Any text carved into this or similar stone, on a building or a tombstone, is assigned a more important status because of its permanence and unalterability. Mottos need to be carved in stone or printed on fine stationery because they embody the beliefs, morals, or ideals of an individual, family, or institution. These are beliefs that are true forever.

Or are they? The only unchangeable thing in life is impermanence and it makes a human being confront the passage of time.

Museum of Brisbane 

artist: dale harding
Artwork: The leap/watershead (2017-21)
medium: ochre on linen

Find out about Dale and his artwork

Artist: Dale Harding

Dale Harding was born in 1982 in Moranbah, Australia, and is currently based in Brisbane, Australia. Harding works in a wide variety of media to explore the visual and social languages of his communities as a cultural continuum. A descendant of the Bidjara, Ghungalu, and Garingbal peoples, he draws upon and maintains the sensibilities of his cultural inheritances within the framework of contemporary art internationally. Harding’s The Leap/Watershead, uses the red ochre from Ghungalu and the painting technique used in the rock art galleries in the sandstone escarpments of Carnarvon Gorge, in central Queensland, as an expression of ongoing Ghungalu culture and country.

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Artwork: The Leap/Watershead (2017-21)

Dale Harding’s large painting, The Leap/Watershead, is a continuation of 20,000 years of indigenous art. Harding is from the Bidjara, Ghungalu, and Garingbal people of central and western Queensland, and the Ghungalu red ochre and the Garingbal light ochre he has used in The Leap/Watershead are drawn from these lands. Harding has blown the ochres onto the linen canvas, adopting a painting technique used in the rock art galleries in the sandstone escarpments of Carnarvon Gorge, in central Queensland. Using this traditional technique, Harding breathes life into an ongoing expression of Ghungalu culture and country – home to some of the oldest art galleries in the world.

APT9 Kids

As part of 'The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art' (APT9), APT9 Kids was an exhibition in collaboration with the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art and Council's Outdoor Gallery. APT9 Kids provided children and families with meaningful insights into the contemporary art of Australia, Asia and the Pacific. The following artwork was part of the APT9 Kids exhibition.

Cordelia Street - banner

Sadik Kwaish Alfraji's exhibition design elements for A Boat to Carry your Dreams (2018) will be on display from November 2018 to November 2021.

Other exhibits in the Outdoor Gallery

From time to time, Council displays stand-alone artworks in the Outdoor Gallery that are not part of a current exhibition. The following artwork is currently on display in Burnett Lane. It was originally part of Maiwar from 1-31 May 2017 which focused on the diversity of Indigenous culture and how artists are bringing their traditional country to an urban audience.

Burnett Lane - lantern light shades

Lisa Sorbie's Woven History (2017) has been on display since May 2017.

Creative opportunities

For all creative sector opportunities with Council, join the Creative Register.

Outdoor gallery map

Last updated: 12 May 2021
Topics: public art