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Herston Quarter Public Art Program

DATE: 2022
Client: Australian unity and Hutchinson Builder

Cultural Capital was engaged to produce a Public Art Program for Herston Quarter, a mixed use precinct at the heart of one of Brisbane’s largest health precincts. Throughout the process Cultural Capital consulted with heritage consultants Urbis, architects Hassell and wayfinding consultancy Dot Dash to ensure consistency across the strategies.

Cultural Capital’s strategy responded to the site’s past, present and future uses by creating opportunities for arts and health experiences  to improve community and individual health and wellbeing.

The strategy envisioned a precinct-wide collection of public artworks that support well-being for diverse audiences, promoting awareness of health issues, including mental health, by creating opportunities for artworks that provide intellectual stimulation or encourage mindfulness. The program includes interactive works, which create environments that may be a combination of inspiring and uplifting, and restful and meditative to increase feelings of well-being. The program also aims to recognise Indigenous cultural maintenance as central to health and well-being by commissioning works by Indigenous artists which will specifically explore Indigenous heritage. 

The art program consists of temporary and permanent public artworks. The permanent commissions include a series of discovery works by Belinda Smith and a seating art work by Elisa Jane Carmichael. The temporary commissions featured a series of 2D works on temporary displays by local emerging artists James Hornsby, Kym Tabulo and Cara-Ann Simpson.

Belinda Smith, 'Blue Tribute', 2022

Belinda Smith’s collection of works is titled Blue Tribute and honours the legacy of women who lived and worked on this site and who advocated for the advancement of healthcare in Queensland. This series of artworks honour the countless nurses who have trained, lived and served in the hospitals of this precinct.

The collection of works uses the simplicity of the heart shape. This iconic shape communicates a profession epitomised by care, courage, dedication and friendship. Each artwork uses the heart in unique ways to express the multitude of stories from the three Herston Quarter Buildings. The heart shaped artworks are finished in Cerulean Blue. This blue features on the Queensland Registered Nurses badge. It is the colour of the sky, of spirit, and soul. Its use is also inspired by the life and work of Edith Cavell. Out of tragedy, her legacy has had a global impact. 

Elisa Jane Carmichael, 'Strings of Waterholes', 2022

Elisa Jane Carmichael’s seating art work Strings of Waterholes is inspired by gatherings. It is a place for coming together, a space that functions as both a yarning circle and a healing circle. Drawing on her experiences as a weaver, it is space being both a quiet area for reflection or a site of activation with community as a weaving circle. Weaving is very healing and contributes to a holistic approach supporting positive mental health and social wellbeing.

Cara-Ann Simpson, Herston Quarter Temporary Art Work, 2022

These works, incorporating Australian plants renowned for their health and wellbeing properties, symbolise the histories, healing and scientific themes of Herston Quarter. They are contemplative, and filled with quiet joy and hope, celebrating the importance of plants to wellbeing, and reminding us that all medicine, even synthesised, as origins from our Earth. They are a reminder of my medical journey, from a year in hospital to the continual adaptation of changing limitations due to neurodegenerative disease. Spectrographs (soundwave visual analyses) are incorporated in each, where I speak the Latin title, paying homage to the importance of a dead language in medical science.


Image 1: Cara-Ann Simpson, medicinae crescente de terra II (medicine growing from our earth II) 2021
Image courtesy of the artist.© Cara-Ann Simpson 

Image 2: Cara-Ann Simspon, pluvia, quasi umbra, sequitur arboribus I (the rain shadow follows trees) 2021
Image courtesy of the artist.© Cara-Ann Simpson 

Image 3: Cara-Ann Simpson, illic est nemo adhuc stantes in lutum (there is no standing still in the dirt) 2021
Image courtesy of the artist.© Cara-Ann Simpson 

James Hornsby, 'Unique Energies', 2022

Unique Energies is a celebration and expression of unique moments and vibrations that exist within the Herston Quarter and surrounding land of Brisbane. Broken down into three artworks; Flare, Float & Form, each artwork communicates a valuable story that relates to the heritage of the Herston Quarter site and the greater Brisbane surrounding land and creates a connection between the two.

Unique Energies began as photographs captured in and around the national parks of greater Brisbane focusing on stimulating textures and spontaneous moments (energies that are unique) accruing in the in the landscape. Each image has been treated to a mixture of digitally created filters and synthetic hand drawn textures. This combination of nature and technology working together is a reminder to the audience that as the Herston Quarter site develops into the future that it is important to view nature and technology co-existing and evolving as one organism. The longevity of humans is the result of ourselves and technology evolving together and as one.

Image 1: James Hornsby, Flare, 2021
Image courtesy of the artist.© James Hornsby 

Image 2: James Hornsby, Float, 2021
Image courtesy of the artist.© James Hornsby 

Image 3: James Hornsby, Form, 2021
Image courtesy of the artist.© James Hornsby 

Kym Tabulo, 'Heartbeat', 2022

Heartbeat is a symbolic floral tribute to the nurses who once lived on site inspired by Kym Tabulo’s time working as a nurse and living at Nurses Quarters. The nurses worked hard, studied, and had fun. The halls of the nurses’ quarters were filled with laughter and practical joking.  It was my great fortune to live there too and be part of daily life at RBH. To celebrate this, embedded in the work is a modified image of her original Queensland nurser’s badge. The words are replaced with a heart in appreciation of all nurses, past and present, who are the heartbeat of a hospital.

Image 1: Kym Tabulo, Heartbeat 1, 2021
Image courtesy of the artist.© Kym Tabulo 

Image 2: Kym Tabulo, Heartbeat 2, 2021
Image courtesy of the artist.© Kym Tabulo 

Image 3: Kym Tabulo, Heartbeat 3, 2021
Image courtesy of the artist.© Kym Tabulo