Sharing Space for Purpose, Beauty and Voice By David Ashby

The Contemporary Art and Architectur public art trail consists of a series of installations interwoven throughout Brisbane's CBD. The eclectic arrangement of sculptures and artistic works are realised by the individual artists and their vision or message, in partnership with the private sector and Brisbane City Council. Connecting directly with the community removes political and socially derived boundaries to artists sharing their voice. Sharing of space allows the artists a forum to raise awareness through their designed works of concepts such as "reflection" portrayed by Carl Warner in his Infinity Forest display which projects a scaled historical forest across the facade of the building resembling the view of an old forest that John Oxley would have seen from the river as he explored the land, to issues of sustainability and repurposing depicted in Donna Marcus's Trickle installation of Stalactites and Stalagmites emerging from the floor and ceiling, crafted from repurposed domestic items. The placement of these art works and their emotive messages being positioned within a community environment, accessible to all, enables artists to advocate for the political, social or personal issues that would not otherwise be heard by the same demographic if these works were restricted to the confines of galleries and private exhibitions.

Confluence is a sculpture by Daniel Templeman. It is situated outside the Brisbane Magistrates court and forms part of the contemporary art and architecture trail collection. I have passed this sculpture a vast number of times since its conception in 2004, yet I have never before appreciated the opportunity to understand the artists' expressive intent. Viewing art work critically and taking time to investigate the artists message to creates valuable opportunities to understand the often covert but poetic meaning beyond the visually pleasing facades. I can now appreciate the message of "overcoming obstacles in life" portrayed by Templeman's design and the symbolic significance portrayed through the design and position at the Court House.

The installations exhibited across this art trail also appear somewhat juxtaposed to the surrounding architecture which appears built primarily for functionality of design rather than creative design. From an educative perspective this draws connections for the Arts to be recognised as an essential element alongside the discipline areas classically associated with that of Architecture, further promoting approaches such as STEAM (Science, Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics).

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David Ashby
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David Ashby

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