An Art Lover's Guide To Queensland

ELIASSON, Olafur installation view | Courtesy of QAGOMA
ELIASSON, Olafur installation view | Courtesy of QAGOMA
Photo of Ellie Griffiths
14 September 2016

Australia’s tropical state of Queensland is the perfect background for artworks from street art to performing arts. Although the big city is full of life, the smaller towns and venues are bound to have something that will tickle your fancy at the community centres and town halls.

Art Festivals

Across Queensland, there is an abundance of festivals ranging from film to street art, cultural, literature and well, just about anything artsy. One of the big favourites each year is the Brisbane Festival, attracting roughly one million people every year to witness the city explode into an avenue for theatre, dance, music, circus and opera for almost a month straight. The Cully Fest Folk Festival, on the other hand, will bring you a new-found respect for the traditions of the outback, learning how to cook a traditional Kup Murri (contains emu) and how to make a didgeridoo.

The citywide, outdoor festival of Brisbane Street Art Festival (BSAF) features live mural art, music, theatre, exhibitions, master classes and workshops over the course of the two-week program. However, if you’re more about watching art and talents on the screen instead of roaming around the city, then the Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival (BAPFF) is for you, with over 80 international films screening across 16 days.

Art Galleries

Ranging from local and national artists, right through to international artists, there are plenty of art galleries to appeal to all art lovers. The Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) covers two adjacent riverside buildings and is home to over 17,000 works. Ranging from historical to modern and contemporary art, there are plenty of permanent and touring Australian and international exhibitions to be discovered.

However, if you are seeking a more cultural experience, then head to any of the regional galleries like Cairns Regional Gallery. It is here that you can find art that holds a national or international significance through portraying the unique history and cultures of Far North Queensland.

Farmanfarmaian installation view | Courtesy of QAGOMA

Outdoor Galleries & Street Art

Across the state, there is a variety of both temporary and permanent outdoor galleries. The Temporary Outdoor Galleries feature the works of Lincoln Austin’s Do you see what I see? (2014) – lantern light shades that were on display on Burnett Lane from June 2014 – and Ryan Presley’s Themesong (Girt by seas) (2015) – a wall banner along Giffin Lane on display as part of Black History Month. Whilst these are only around for a short period of time, the Permanent Galleries feature an abundance of street and public art.

Like most large cities, Brisbane is full of street art bringing everyday objects to life and also giving the city a unique character. The community art project, Artforce, provides local artists a venue to paint their works on traffic signal boxes, whilst Brisbane Canvas commissions imaginative artists to turn walls, pillars and bridge structures into a lively, creative scene. However, if you’d much rather discover the public art, there is an array of unique sculptures and artworks gracing the creative scene.

Street art, Teneriffe, Brisbane | © Rae Allen / Flickr

Performing Arts

For those seeking a taste of Shakespeare, The Nutcracker and everything in between, Queensland’s performing arts scene is a must. The Queensland Performing Arts Centre offers a variety of events covering all genres of performing arts – even branching into music and comedy – all across the year. However, if you are seeking something more specific like theatre and ballet, then the Brisbane Arts Theatre and the Queensland Ballet should be discovered. Be sure to check their websites for upcoming events and book in advance to avoid missing out.

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