Brisbane’s Iconic Landmarks Set To Come Alive With Messengers Of Brisbane

Queensland’s most anticipated event will return in September with a joyous and uplifting program spanning giant outdoor installations, intimate street concerts, suburban symphonies and an epic new light and laser installation. 

The debut Brisbane Festival program from Artistic Director Louise Bezzina will bring the unexpected and the delightful to Brisbane from 4 – 26 September, reaching all 190 suburbs of the city with a line-up unlike any presented before.

Unveiling her “Boldly Brisbane” program today, Ms Bezzina said the three-week Festival was meticulously curated to bring personal and human connection back to everyday life. 

A flock of spectacularly coloured birds will swoop into Brisbane this September with a simple but powerful message: look up and smile.

Internationally renowned visual artist Florentijn Hofman has created six giant Gouldian finches for Messengers of Brisbane, a public installation bringing hope, joy and art exclusively to Brisbane from 4 – 26 September 2020 as part of this year’s Brisbane Festival supported by Tourism and Events Queensland.

The vibrant, larger-than-life sculptures will be perched atop some of the city’s most iconic landmarks for the duration of the Festival: Queensland Museum, QPAC, South Bank, Brisbane Powerhouse, Brisbane City Hall and the Goodwill Bridge.

Based in the Netherlands, Mr Hofman worked with Brisbane’s UAP (Urban Art Projects) to bring his concept and designs to life.

Gouldian finches, also known as rainbow finches, are recognisable by their vivid feathers and bright colour, a trait that is amplified in Messengers of Brisbane.

Brisbane Festival Artistic Director Louise Bezzina said each finch will wear a party hat, creating colourful beacons that inject a sense of fun throughout the city.

“These giant Gouldian finches are glorious visual reminders that September is synonymous with Brisbane Festival and a cause for celebration,” Ms Bezzina said.“The six sculptures are strategically placed across the city so they can be seen on a leisurely stroll, a bike ride, a City Cat journey or even on the work commute.”“Messengers of Brisbane is a daily reminder to look up and smile.”

Mr Hofman is well-known for creating playful urban installations that scale animals up to enormous proportions, including Rubber Duck which has graced waterways across the world and Hippopo Thames which floated down London’s River Thames.

Gouldian finches are native to Australia and within Messengers of Brisbane, symbolise freedom and the fragility of our environment while offering hope to Brisbane for brighter days to come.

“The pink party hat is a very important feature in this work,” Mr Hofman said.“For me, it symbolises celebrating life, enjoying living and being positive, especially during this period but it is also appropriate to all life situations.”

Mr Hofman began creating Messengers of Brisbane prior to COVID-19 and while the intent of his installation had not changed, the pandemic had added further context to the work.

“The distance of the works on rooftops and other high positions indicate aspiration and, at the same time, question our current situation of social distancing and what freedom means
to every individual,” he said.“The works give aim and direction in a time where creativity is paramount and the power of imagination must be relied upon to feel a flight synonymous to the bird.”

Learn more about the endangered species through workshops and activities at Queensland Museum and via Brisbane Festival’s website.

Brisbane Festival 2020 will be held from 4 to 26 September. For more information, including updates and announcements, visit or follow Brisbane Festival on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

All Festival events comply with relevant COVID safe plans and health authority directions.

This project is presented by Brisbane Festival and Tourism and Events Queensland and supported through the Giving Program by Tim Fairfax AC and Gina Fairfax.

Brisbane Festival features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.

Florentijn Hofman and Brisbane Festival collaborated with UAP in the delivery of this project.