A supersized wall mural depicting Australian lungfish swimming into a vibrant sunrise has been unveiled as one of the feature installations in the multi-million-dollar public art roll out for the transformational Queen’s Wharf Brisbane urban renewal project.
Titled ‘Lungfish Dreamz’ the 16m x 2m panoramic mural, comprising pixilated squares of blue, violet, orange and yellow mosaic glass tiles, will run adjacent to the bicentennial bike path between Queen’s Wharf Road and the Brisbane River.
Talented Brisbane based artist Samuel Tupou said a visit to the site sparked his concept idea, drawing inspiration from both the river and the nearby glass mosaic on the former State Library, which was created by Lindsay Edwards in 1959 to mark the centenary of the formation of the colony of Queensland.
“I wanted to connect with the area and of course the river but was fascinated by what’s beneath its surface,” he said. “I discovered that the lungfish dates back millions of years and is found in the upper reaches of the Brisbane River and other South East Queensland waterways. This unique, locally found fish has survived for a very long time and is still around, but is largely unknown, so I wanted to draw attention to it.”
Often drawing on his Tongan and Polynesian heritage, Mr Tupou’s work has been included in collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Cairns Regional Art Gallery as well as high profile, public spaces in Brisbane and Ipswich.
“This is the largest and most visible project I have been commissioned for,” he said. I am so excited to be involved and hope my artwork will have a similar longevity as the lungfish.”
A Specialist Artistic Advisory panel, led by highly regarded art figure Philip Bacon AO alongside art curator and Director of the Institute of Modern Art Liz Nowell and respected Indigenous curator and arts administrator Avril Quaill, is curating the collection of artworks earmarked for the 7.5 hectares of public space within the entertainment and tourism precinct.
“The talent of local artists we’ve identified, who will be showcasing their artworks to millions of people visiting this precinct for years to come, including for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, is exceptional. Samuel Tupou’s work is known for his connection to culture, location and story, specifically referencing Queensland’s position in the Asia-Pacific region,” Ms Quaill said
“We chose this artist based on the strength of his body of work to date and the potential to create a site-specific work utilising his chosen medium of exquisite mosaic glass tiles.
“The size, scale and gem-like quality of Samuel Tupou’s ‘Lungfish Dreamz’ will be enjoyed for many years to come.”
The signature public art masterpiece for Queen’s Wharf – an eight metre, eight tonne oblong bronze sculpture to sit at the resort entrance on George Street by Brisbane born, internationally regarded Lindy Lee has already been revealed.
Other artworks created by highly talented and respected local and international contemporary artists have been identified by the advisory panel and are soon to be revealed.
All will be in place for the $3.6 billion development’s planned staged opening from mid-2023