Signature public art commission inspired by First Nations connection to Country

Brian Robinson's artwork, a four-metre-high bronze sculpture called Floriate, will feature intricate etchings of Queensland native flora, culturally significant to both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Signature public art commission inspired by First Nations connection to Country

Internationally recognised Torres Strait Islander artist Brian Robinson has been named as the selected artist to develop his concept design for a distinctive piece of public art for the new theatre now under construction at the Queensland Cultural Centre. 

Brian’s signature work Floriate, inspired by Queensland’s natural flora and its connection to First Nations peoples, is an approximately four-metre-high bronze sculpture that will be positioned in the external entry forecourt of the new theatre. 

The sculpture features graceful flowering plants and an elongated ribbon form, referencing key river systems that connect to South Brisbane through the South East, Wallum, Central, Wet Tropics, Murray-Darling, Lake Eyre and Bulloo, and Western Cape and Gulf.

The sculpture’s design traces First Nations histories by incorporating native flowers that are culturally significant to Aboriginal peoples as medicines, decorations, food sources, and tools, while the intricate patterns embedded within the surface of the sculpture showcase ancestral narratives influenced by mythology, the environment and the cosmos above Torres Strait.

The project’s independent Public Artwork First Nations Selection Panel praised the concept design and the sophisticated weaving together of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories: “With its cultural layering from the use of significant flowers to the stories built within the patternmaking, the design pays homage to how the story has been gently but strikingly woven together.”

Working in collaboration with Blaklash, our team in Australia served as Public Art Consultants, managing the EOI process and supporting the selection, design assistance, and idea development for the First Nation artists. Stay tuned for more details about this public art commission and how our teams, together with Blaklash help deliver Robinson's concept and bring it into reality.

About Brian Robinson

Brian Robinson has literally carved out a distinctive presence within a remarkably talented generation of contemporary Australian artists. Raised on Waiben and now Cairns-based, he has become known for his printmaking, sculpture and public art in which he uses a variety of techniques to produce bold, innovative and distinctive works that cross boundaries between reality and fantasy. Punctuated with mischief and humour, Robinson’s works exude a joyful ebullience that is at once exciting and infectious. Navigating a distinct space-time continuum, these compelling works act as a personal mnemonic for the artist - particular in its detail, specific in its tastes - a unique assemblage of icons and emblems that channel a continued connection to the past. Born in 1973, Brian grew up in the idyllic tropical surroundings of the Torres Strait Islands. His family are fisher folk whose Roman Catholic faith exists in synergy with traditional spirituality. His ancestral lineage extends back to the Maluyligal people of Torres Strait and the Wuthathi people from Cape York Peninsula. Brian is internationally recognised for his printmaking and public sculptures and his work has contributed significantly to the built environment of numerous cities across the country through major public art commissions.

Image credit: Brian Robinson new performing arts venue public art Floriate concept design sculpture, courtesy of the artist and Arts Queensland

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