It's time to get 'art' and about in Brisbane

Fish Lane light boxes, South Brisbane. 'QTZed' 2019, Kate Banazi and Alex Lotersztain.

Calling all culture vultures craving a fix of public art. We’ve got the street smarts on Brisbane outdoor art, from striking light boxes and bold banners tucked into lovely laneways, to vibrant vitrines and a wondrous wharf-side projection.

Watch our virtual preview below (or on Council's YouTube account) of the Local Design | Brisbane exhibition, part of Brisbane City Council's Outdoor Gallery program, which captures the colour and character of our vibrant city, using the city streets as its public art canvas.

Keen for a real-world gander? You'd best be quick, as this four-monthly rotating project will switch to new artworks at the end of July.

Here's a breakdown of our best inner-city art adventure. Make sure you schedule time to sip a local latte and snatch a bite to eat to support shops, stalls and markets, as you embark 'art' and about on an urban adventure.

Something fishy

Located a hop, skip and a jump from South Bank Parklands, and within Brisbane’s buzzing cultural precinct of art galleries, museums and theatres, discover the fabulous Fish Lane light boxes featuring QTZed (2019) by Kate Bananzi in collaboration with Alex Lotersztain. Designed to reflect the beauty and semi-precious qualities of quartz, this artwork interprets the award-winning chair QTZed 2019 by Alex Loterstzain and its placement is set among cafes, restaurants and lots more street art in Fish Lane.

Like many of our light boxes scattered around the city, these artworks capture a moment or metaphor and are open to your own interpretation. On our entire outdoor art itinerary, it’s about the journey as much as the destination.

Discover the faces of Australian design

Just across the Brisbane River, you’ll find our King George Square light boxes representing portraits of Australian artists and designers as part of the wider exhibition. This series, by a number of nationally renowned photographers, reveals some of the characters behind Australia’s design industry.

You’ll find some other more permanent familiar faces captured in sculpture around here too. Keep an eye out for the King George V Memorial (after whom the square was named); The Progress of Civilisation in the State of Queensland statue; three historical figures Emma Miller, Sir Charles Lilley and Steele Rudd, and the Lions in front of City Hall. For more public sculptures, follow our Cultural Heritage Public Art Trail.

Find a familiar fashion name

Walk as the crow flies from the Riverside ferry terminal towards Ann Street and you’ll stumble upon our Hutton Lane light boxes showing the artwork Creative Collaboration (2019). This outdoor artwork is a collaboration between artist Shilo Engelbrecht and iconic Brisbane fashion designer Lydia Pearson, of Easton Pearson fame, and it takes a snapshot of the design process between this delectable duo.

Amble a few blocks towards the city, to the picturesque lawns of heritage-listed Anzac Square where you’ll find sculptures commemorating those who have participated in conflicts, including the spectacular Shrine of Remembrance and Eternal Flame. Plan your visit with our Cultural Heritage Public Art Trail.

Peek into another world

The Giffin Lane banner by Shilo Engelbrecht offers a lively glimpse behind the locked doors of artists. Milles (2018) is a hand-cut paper collage of layers behind key-hole shapes and has been turned into a fabric print, on a scale not seen before. This visual delight is near Hutton Lane, and not far from the Brisbane River, so make sure you take time for a leisurely stroll along the dazzling Riverside precinct.

Giffin Lane banner, Brisbane City. 'Milles' (2018) by Shilo Engelbrecht.

Keep your eagle eyes peeled

Keep wandering the city and you’ll discover the edgy Eagle Lane light boxes, featuring Soigne’ Silhouettes (2017) by CJ Anderson, who uses traditional craftsmanship and digital manufacturing to create thoughtful objects and furniture for interiors. Eagle Lane is just around the corner from Brisbane’s General Post Office and Post Office Square, where you will find more fascinating figures and artworks as part of our Cultural Heritage Public Art Trail.

Eagle Lane light boxes, Brisbane City. 'Soigne' Silhouettes' (2017) by CJ Anderson.

Embrace some Australiana

Don’t miss our two glass display cases along Brisbane’s bustling Edward Street, which are showing works by Tom Emmett, titled Blue Gum (desk) and Bollard (light mobile) (2019), and Gumnut (side table) and School of Fish (mobile) (2019). Featuring native materials and artisanal expertise, we reckon these installations are a destination in themselves.

Edward Street vitrine, Brisbane City. Artworks by Tom Emmett.

Wrap the wharves

The cliffs behind Howard Smith Wharves provide the perfect platform for the projection by graphic designer Nick Barclay, who has created visual representations of the exhibiting designers and their pieces in this artwork Local Design|Brisbane, 2019. Considered one of Brisbane’s most vibrant riverside precincts, this is a top spot for a walk or the perfect place to sit back and take in the city views and Story Bridge lights reflecting on the river. Stay tuned for our new Howard Smith Wharves ferry terminal which is on its way.

Watch this space

Stay future-focused on Edison Lane, off Creek Street, and Irish Lane, between Charlotte and Elizabeth streets, for upcoming innovative artworks as part of the Outdoor Gallery program.

These works are scattered around the Central Business District within walking distance of the Queen Street Mall, King George Square, Howard Smith Wharves and across the Brisbane River near South Bank Parklands, and make for a great day out year-round.

Local love

Discovering hidden gems including public artworks is a great way to refocus on all the things we love about our local areas – the scenery, the subtropical lifestyle, and the small businesses at the heart of our community. 

“The objective of Local Design | Brisbane is to present a collective of Australian design that will heighten the global perspective of our Australian aesthetic and style, encouraging and supporting local designers to continue raising the bar,”

Local Design | Brisbane exhibition curator, Emma Elizabeth

Still craving more colour and culture? We offer plenty of Council public art around the city and suburbs. Check out Brisbane Canvas for innovative and imaginative commissioned street art on walls, pillars and bridge structures; and keep your eyes peeled for Artforce, that fun and funky art adorning traffic signal boxes dotted around the city.

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Date posted:
Last updated:19 June 2020
Topics: things to do