Botanica 2020 Kellie O'Dempsey
Artwork: Pulse (2019),Kellie O'Dempsey, live drawing projection (performance still), Botanica - Contemporary Art Outside 

Discover Botanica

Discover a stunning open-air art exhibition in the heart of Brisbane City at Botanica - Contemporary Art Outside from 7-16 May 2021, in the City Botanic Gardens from 5-10pm daily.

As the sun sets over Brisbane's iconic urban skyline, Brisbane's City Botanic Gardens will come to life with large-scale projections, surprising installations and interactive artworks to captivate children and adults. Enjoy Botanica Live Nights on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings during the festival with additional activations, music, food trucks and an outdoor bar.

Botanica is a free event and part of Brisbane Art Design 2021.

Artists and artworks

Botanica features new artworks from some of Australia's leading contemporary artists and designers. It explores the nexus of art and design practice and inspires conversations about our built, natural and digital environments.

Hiromi Tango

Heartbeat (2021)

Find out about Hiromi and her artwork

Artist statement

Heartbeat transforms the kiosk in the heart of the City Botanic Gardens through a vibrant projection and textile installation.

In a year where we have all been affected by the stress and uncertainty of the global pandemic, Heartbeat creates an uplifting sensory encounter. The rainbow colours are a beacon of hope, optimism and life. Red, orange and yellow emanate warmth and energy, while blue and green create a feeling of deep calm and wellness. It is Hiromi's hope that Heartbeat will provide a moment of peaceful reflection and happiness for all who encounter it.

Materials: Mixed media, textile, neon, LED, light box, projection

Additional creative team

Kim Best (textile production), Wendy Mansell (editing), Craig Walsh (projection design), Steven Thomasson (projection design), Aaron Dora (project management)

Acknowledgements

The artist would like to acknowledge the Heartbeat support team - Kim Best, Ayuko Oba, Craig Walsh, Steve Thomasson, Aaron Dora, and Wendy Mansell, and everyone who is dedicated to humanity, nature and the arts.

Biography

Hiromi Tango is a Japanese-Australian artist whose work spans sculpture, painting, drawing, photography, projection and performance. Drawing on a life-long passion for gardening, she explores how our connection with nature — and spaces like the City Botanic Gardens — can generate calm, wellness and happiness amongst the bustle and stress of our contemporary existence.

Image credits

Top - Artist impression of Heartbeat (2021), Hiromi Tango. Courtesy of the artist.
Bottom - Pictured: Hiromi Tango. Courtesy of the artist.

Simone Eisler

Museum of our lost world (2021)

Find out about Simone and her artwork

Artist statement

Simone chose the formal flower garden as a site for her work for its symbolic power. As a highly designed folly in the shape of a flower, it reminds us that the City Botanic Gardens is a constructed space - a museum of nature that celebrates its diversity.

Now a lifeless ossuary of bleached cast skeletal remains of animals, fish and coral, the deathly site references the garden's early history as a zoo, but more importantly, our dangerous future. Simone sees this graveyard as a prescient foreboding of a dying world caused by the folly of human-induced climate change.

Materials: Cast gypsum

Acknowledgements

The artist acknowledges Perides Art Projects Brisbane, CSR Gyprock Trade Noosaville, her partner Kevin Wilson, her family, and all who have assisted with this installation.

Biography

Simone Eisler is an experienced Queensland sculptor with an extensive exhibition and public art profile in Australia and overseas. Garden themes feature strongly in many of her large-scale, immersive installations and are a platform for her to explore issues of climate change, species adaptation, family history and the diaspora.

Image credits

Top - Artist impression of Museum of our lost world (2021), Simone Eisler. Courtesy of the artist.
Bottom - Simone Eisler. Photo: Kevin Wilson.

Esem Projects (E/P)

Superorganism (2021)

Find out about E/P and their artwork

Artist statement

Step inside the canopy of the Tipuana Tipu tree. Lie down, look up and listen in to past, present, and future sounds of our fragile and complex ecosystems.

Informed by the ideas of James Lovelock, creator of the Gaia hypothesis, Superorganism resonates with a vast spectrum of founds from natural to artificial, from historical recordings to machine intelligence.

Taking place at a pivot point in the history of our planet, during an era of mass extinction and loss of biodiversity, Superorganism invites audiences to reflect on what we are losing, what we gain by paying attention, and what uncertain futures lie ahead.

Materials: Audio and light installation, steel, soft furnishings

Additional creative team

Nigel Cruikshank (synthesisers and sampling), Rose Grayson (vocals), Leif Wilson (technical design), Pete Hird (sound engineer and installation)

Acknowledgements

The artists acknowledge contributions from scientific thinkers, recordists and creative advisors who have supported and inspired the making of this artwork. Field recordists featured include Vicki Powys, Andrew Skeoch, George Vlad and John Hutchinson.

Biography

Led by Dr Sarah Barns and Michael Killalea, Esem Projects (E/P) is a multi-disciplinary media arts practice, whose work addresses our changing relationships to space, place and ecology in a hyper-connected digital age.

Image credits

Top - Artist impression of Superorganism (2021), Esem Projects. Courtesy of the artist.
Bottom - Pictured: Esem Projects. Courtesy of the artists.

Paul Bai

On Top of the World (No. 3) (2021)

Find out about Paul and his artwork

Artist statement

On Top of the World (No. 3) has several conceptual dimensions. Firstly, it responds to Piero Manzoni's 1961 sculpture inscribed with the words "The Base of the World, Homage to Galileo" — placed upside down in a field in Herning, Denmark.

As Australia is often regarded as the 'bottom' of the world, this artwork challenges the definitions of 'top' and 'bottom' in the context of spatial positions.

The work underlines humanity's struggle with orientation in the world, suggesting to be 'on top of the world' is to be on the ground, and directly connected to the earth.

Materials: Chalk on grass

Acknowledgements

Courtesy of David Pestorius Projects and the artist.

Biography

Paul Bai was born in China and has lived and worked in Brisbane since 1989. Bai's cross-discipline art practice spans painting, video, photography and installation and builds upon the tradition of 1960s conceptual art. He has exhibited professionally nationally and internationally since 1996.

Image credits

Top - Artist impression of On Top of the World (2021), Paul Bai. Courtesy of the artist.
Bottom - Pictured: Paul Bai. Courtesy of the artist.

Charlotte Haywood

Here + Now (2021)

Find out about Charlotte and her artwork

Artist statement

What are the 'signs' in the landscape?

What smells, sounds or sights keep us present, signalling the time of day, season, a moment in an ecological cycle, or our interconnection?

Drawing our attention to the thresholds of time and place, Here + Now asks through what lens do you see the significant pointers in our landscape?

The work is a whacky blend of pop botanica, 'utopia' and phenomena. It highlights the authority of Indigenous ecological knowledge, the democratisation of science through agency, and the significance of the relationship between community and ecology. Its goal is to highlight nature's equity that nurtures all.

Materials: Bamboo, LED, neon light, plumbing clamps, steel

Additional creative team

Gerry Turpin (Consultant. Senior Ethnobotanist, Tropical Indigenous Ethnobotany Centre, James Cook University)

Acknowledgements

To the Jagera and Turrbul Peoples of Brisbane City, and all Traditional Owners across Australia and the Torres Strait whose authority of ecological knowledge is paramount, Charlotte offers your her deepest respect.

Title inspired by Aldous Huxley's Island (1962).

Biography

Charlotte Haywood is an experimental, interdisciplinary artist who explores themes and practices from pop to the primordial. She seeks cultural and linguistic nuances of the body and the landscape to decrypt and unfold multi-narratives in an act of decolonising the self.

Image credits

Top - Artist impression of Here + Now (2021), Charlotte Haywood. Courtesy of the artist.
Bottom - Pictured: Charlotte Haywood. Photo: Kate Holmes.

Jenna Lee

Breathing Spaces (2019)

Find out about Jenna and her artwork

Artist statement

Through acts of understanding, deconstruction and reconstruction, Breathing Spaces looks to recontextualise historic words about public spaces, to include knowledge of place long known as truth to First Nations Peoples.

By deconstructing the words of historic texts and rearranging them into a poem that includes First Nations' understandings of nature, water, place and space, this work hopes to weave perspectives back into the public knowledge of the area.

While diving into history can sometimes cause heartache, this works aims to demonstrate how understanding and reflecting on our collective past, we can take the newly dissected parts and create something new and beautiful.

Materials: Projection

Additional creative team

Sai Karlen (motion graphics and multidisciplinary designer)

Biography

Jenna Lee is a mixed-race Larrakia, Wardaman and Karajarri, Asian (Japanese, Chinese, Filipino) and Anglo Australian woman whose contemporary art practice explores the transformation of the colonial printed word through the ritualistic acts of analysis, destruction and reconstruction, seeking to translate the page into a new tangible language.

Image credits

Top - Artist impression of Breathing Spaces (2021), Jenna Lee. Courtesy of the artist.
Bottom - Pictured: Jenna Lee. Photo: Jade Florence.

Kellie O'Dempsey

What did you say? (2021)

Find out about Kellie and her artwork

Artist statement

On the epidermis of a tree's leaves, microscopic pores called stomata exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen. The world 'stomata' comes from the Greek word 'stoma' meaning 'mouth'. What did you say? reimagines a tree's stomata as the mouth through which the planet breathes.

Some mouths breathe with ease; others struggle to catch their breath; a silent few are deathly still. Viewers are asked to listen and engage in deep, conscious breathing, to be present in the moment, to connect, consider and rest.

Using augmented reality, projected imagery and a soundscape of breathing, the artwork responds to our strange and ever-shifting social and environmental climate.

Materials: Projection and sound installation with augmented reality animation.

Additional creative team

Helena Papageorgiou (augmented reality), Michael Dick (sound)

Biography

Kellie O'Dempsey develops site-generated installations that incorporate sound, animation, light, video and sculpture. O'Dempsey hybridises these elements to generate artworks that are experiential and emergent. Creating in both solo and collaborative formats, her diverse practice investigates notions of transformation and the absurd through improvisation and happenstance.

Image credits

Top - Artist impression of What did you say? (2021), Kellie O'Dempsey.
Bottom - Pictured: Kellie O'Dempsey. Courtesy of the artist.

Georgie Pinn

Ripple (2021)

Find out about Georgie and her artwork

Artist statement

Ripple is an immersive audiovisual experience that is projection-mapped on the lagoon surface. As the audience navigates through the physical transformation of water via a touch screen, from ice to vapour (fear to truth), they experience different metaphors for the states of human emotion.

The work explores water as a metaphor for the subconscious, linking interactive animation and sound to the expressions of the audience, nurturing empathy for nature and highlighting the vulnerability and strength in shared human emotion.

On the weekends, the installation will be accompanied by roving performances from Theatre of Thunder and a musical Acknowledgement of Country from the electro/hip-hop music duo, Kairos Kin.

Materials: Interactive audio-visual installation

Additional creative team

Simon Burgin and Johnathan Crowe (creative and technical support), Remo Vallance (design for fabrication), Tom Marxon (engineering), James Clark (audio engineering and system design)

Biography

Georgie Pinn has two decades of experience working as an artist, director and producer of interactive public cultural events. Her work combines immersive technology with installation, narrative, film, animation, theatre and sound. Pinn's creative practice is underpinned by her long-term research into empathy as a creative force for making connections across cultural, age and gender divide.

Image credits

Top - Artist impression of Ripple (2021), Georgie Pinn.
Bottom - Pictured: Georgie Pinn. Courtesy of the artist.

Georgia Hillas

Aim Higher (2021)

Find out about Georgia and her artwork

Artist statement

Palm Circle is temporarily transformed into a public sports arena, reminiscent of the historic use of the land it encircles.

Aim Higher invites everyone to shoot netballs into macrame hoops mounted at various heights ranging from achievable to unrealistic — uniting audiences from diverse demographics on a level playing field. In contrast to the historical inequalities for women in sporting and art domains, Aim Higher manifests a symbolic, ideological space of parity.

The work represents women throughout history who have utilised their crafts to aim higher than society deemed reasonable; to stride closer towards equality with traditionally masculine domains.

Materials: Netball rings, cotton macrame, rope, netballs, Cuban royal palms (Roystonea regia), hammocks, UV black lights, neon dye, textiles and other materials

Acknowledgements

This work has been generously facilitated with support from QUT.  Georgie thanks Charles Robb, Ivy Trove and the artist's family and friends who generously volunteered their time.

Biography

Georgia Hillas is a Brisbane-based visual artist who graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Arts) from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in 2019. Growing up as an elite athlete, Hillas draws upon personal experience and mass media to inform her practice which navigates the marginalised history of women in sport.

Image credits

Top - Artist impression of Aim Higher (2021), Georgia Hillas. Courtesy of the artist.
Bottom - Pictured: Georgia Hillas. Photo: Claudia De Luca.

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Public events program

Botanica offers a range of unique experiences for all ages including guided twilight walks, a children's discovery trail, thought-provoking talks, and hands-on workshops. All events are free, with some subject to bookings via Eventbrite.

Botanica Live Nights  |Activity | ExhibitionPerformanceSelf-guided walks | Tours | Talks | Workshops 

To see all Botanica events for a specific date or date range, or to see a specific event, filter your search.

Fri 7 to Sun 16 May 2021
Free

Discover a stunning open-air art exhibition in the heart of Brisbane City at Botanica – Contemporary Art Outside. Across ten nights in May leading contemporary...

City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane City

Fri 7 May 2021, 4:00pm
Free

Join a guided tour of the exhibition then create your own Botanica-inspired masterpiece. Explore the Botanica sculptures and installations on a night-time...

City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane City

Fri 7 May 2021, 5:00pm
Free

Children and their adults can take a self-led, night-time adventure through the City Botanic Gardens. Discover a hidden world of sculpture and installation that...

City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane City

Fri 7 May 2021, 5:00pm
Free

Plan a cultural night out with food trucks, a pop-up bar, and projections. Spend more time exploring the artworks and discovering the beauty of the gardens on...

City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane City

Fri 7 May 2021, 5:00pm
Free

Experience a different perspective of Botanica through this special self-guided sonic tour. Using geo-tagged content triggered by location, this sound walk...

City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane City

Fri 7 May 2021, 5:00pm
Free

If you could communicate with the gardens, what would you say? Drop-in anytime to write your letter to the gardens and then pin it to the growing wall of...

City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane City

Fri 7 May 2021, 5:00pm
Free

Wander the gardens after dark to discover a series of native animal projections. In response to the 2020 bushfire season, this playful work seeks to encourage...

City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane City

Fri 7 May 2021, 5:15pm
Free

Three performers use melody, poetry and rap to explore the First Nations peoples' understanding of water, nature and place. Inspired by Jenna Lee's artwork...

City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane City

Fri 7 May 2021, 5:30pm
Free

Enjoy a guided after-dark tour of the Botanica exhibition, set in the beautiful City Botanic Gardens, to discover more about each artwork and artist. On Friday...

City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane City

Explore artwork - Botanica art spaces

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Stay COVID safe

Council is working closely with the Australian Government and Queensland Health and is following their expert health advice to help minimise the transmission of coronavirus. We encourage all residents to continue to practice safe social distancing and hygiene while using Council facilities and politely request that you refrain from visiting Botanica should you start displaying any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19. Download the COVIDSafe app to help slow the spread of coronavirus. For further health advice or information, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.

More information

For more information for Botanica, you can:

  • phone Council on 07 3403 8888
  • email the project team
  • write to:
    Botanica
    Brisbane City Council
    GPO Box 1434
    Brisbane Qld 4001.

Event feedback

Provide Botanica event feedback by completing our online survey form.

Last updated: 6 May 2021
Topics: creative