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Off the canvas: Brisbane Street Art Festival back to paint the town

Culture

The Brisbane Street Art Festival will return in May for its sixth run, hosting a mini-festival style launch party at BSAF headquarters, and celebrating street artists from around the country with a huge display of 39 new murals across Brisbane.

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The two-week festival is a celebration of street artists from around Queensland, Australia, and the world with Brisbane becoming the canvas for 39 murals in iconic spaces around the city.

Art-lovers can keep their eyes peeled for murals around Brisbane Airport, South Bank, Brisbane Showgrounds, The Wickham, and the newly refurbished Princess Theatre in Woolloongabba.

The festival will kick off on 1 May with a tri-level Festival Launch Party, hosted at Superordinary, an abandoned office space newly reclaimed by artists and art exhibitions.

The ground floor will contain a level of live music and DJs, the first floor the immersive multimedia experience Submerged and the second floor will host the large scale exhibition Within these Walls.

Fintan Magee, Mural at Limestone Center Ipswich for BSAF 2020. (Image: @mellumae)

There will also be artist talks, aerosol workshops, laneway parties, live music, cycling tours, and exhibitions – some free to punters and some ticketed.

2021 welcomes a return to physical spaces and full programming for the festival as 2020 was live-streamed, as a result of COVID-19, for audiences to enjoy online.

Lincoln Savage, the Festival’s Director, said it was a welcome return after the difficulty of last year.

“I’m grateful to be able to provide opportunities for emerging and established artists through collaboration with venues, festivals and corporate partners,” Savage said.

“We seek to support artistic freedom of expression and voice, which we believe enriches the built environment and social fabric of our city. We are looking forward to presenting one of the first large-scale festivals since COVID-19 and welcome Brisbane residents to hit the streets and explore the public art program,” he said.

Some festival highlights include Melbourne artist Kaff-eine, who will paint a mural at The Wickham to be unveiled at Big Gay Day, and the inner-city Cross River Rail will host the socially conscious art of Brisbane painter Shani Finch.

Woolloongabba’s newly-opened Princess Theatre will host a collaboration piece by Indigenous artists Birrunga Wiradyuri, Kane Brunjes and Stevie O’Chin.

Queensland Music Festival has partnered with BSAF to host live canvas portrait painting in Queen Street Mall with visual artists Keziah Gall, Tori-Jay Mordey and Wellborn.

The festival is another stellar addition to free, public art exhibitions that have been hosted around the CBD in the past months.

“Turning walls, bridges and buildings into a canvas, Brisbane street artists have used their skills to bring public art in our city to life. This festival is about shining a light on Brisbane’s creative sector and showcasing the diverse range of talented and emerging artists that are building our city into a more creative and vibrant place,” Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said.

“There are plenty of exciting workshops, performances and new murals on offer that are guaranteed to satisfy your art fix. Whether you are an artist or a visitor, I encourage you to make the most of the festival and show your support to our fantastic creative community.”

The Brisbane Street Art Festival kicks off on May 1 and runs until May 16, for more information visit the Brisbane Street Art Festival website. 

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