5 September 2023

First Nations connection to Country to be represented at Australia's largest performing arts centre

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Floriate is a four-metre high sculpture that takes on a twisting ribbon form. The piece features intricate designs on side of the ribbon that showcases Indigenous ancestral stories, and incorporates seven native flowers on either end of the ribbon, four on one side and three on the other.

Brian Robinson’s Floriate tells the story of Queensland’s rich Indigenous heritage at the largest performing arts centre in the country.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artist Brian Robinson has been selected to create a permanent sculpture for the entryway of the new theatre at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC).

The First Nations public art commission is a signature component of the new theatre, which will make QPAC the largest performing arts centre in Australia.

“Brian Robinson’s stunning sculpture Floriate tells a story that connects the beauty of Queensland’s natural environment with First Nations culture and knowledge of Country,” Minister for the Arts, Hon Leeanne Enoch MP said.

Brian’s design concept of Floriate will be developed into a four-metre high bronze sculpture which represents Queensland’s natural flora and its connection to First Nations peoples.

He said that the piece takes on a “twisting ribbon form” which references the “meandering river systems across the state of Queensland”.

The work also showcases 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 carved into the surface of the sculpture traces ancestral narratives.

Brian Robinson is a man with dark brown hair pulled back, a black t-shirt, black apron and rectangular glasses. He is carving out designs on a silvery grey sheet placed on a white workbench.

Internationally recognised artist Brian Robinson has created several public artworks which focus on First Nations histories and Indigenous narratives. Photo by Hamish Rutherford. Rendering by UAP.

Brian, who has been developing public art with Indigenous storytelling roots since the late nineties, said that he draws on his Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island heritage to represent his culture and educate others.

“It’s really important to have (First Nations) works in public spaces because it gives ownership to those spaces and brings that land back into the Indigenous context.”

He hopes that viewers will walk away with ” a sense of pride” in the rich culture of the land and become familiar with the natural elements which are significant to its history.

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