Brisbane’s brightest young artists celebrate the sunny side of life

BCC-Sunny-Side-Up-Amelia-Hine-Metamorphosis-2020-Howard-Smith-WharvesPresented as part of Brisbane City Council’s free Outdoor Gallery program, Sunny Side Up explores the identity of this subtropical city and celebrates Brisbane’s brightest young artists.

Curated by young up-and-comers Alex Holt and Sarah Thomson the exhibition will feature a collection of public artworks by emerging artists spanning photography, sculpture, video, animation, and illustration, on view throughout Summer from 30 November 2020 to 18 April 2021.

“We wanted to shine a spotlight on Brisbane’s thriving emerging art scene and reflect on why we as creatives choose to call this city home,” said Thomson and Holt. “The lifestyle, atmosphere and geography are undoubtedly factors, which these artists address through their own perspectives.”

Bringing to the fore the optimism, abundance and playful spirit of the sunshine state, as seen through the eyes of these young artists, will feature public artworks scattered throughout Brisbane’s CBD spurring much-needed moments of recognition and joy.

While overall playful in spirit and aesthetic, these layered artworks will reward those who take a moment to pause and contemplate our complex relationships with leisure and the environment.

Many of the works featured within Brisbane’s urban spaces include visual and conceptual references to water, local plants, the quality of light in our sun-drenched city, climate, and suburbia. With all artists under 35, it is the first time that many have exhibited at a large scale in the public realm.

Artists included in the program are: Holly Anderson, Hailey Atkins, Jordan Azcune, Kinly Grey, Charlie Hillhouse, Amelia Hine, Phoebe Paradise, Parallel Park, Monica Rohan, and Julia Scott Green.

Hailey Atkins’ sculptural work displayed in the Edward Street Vitrines references blooming jacarandas, curtains catching the summer heat, hilly streets, and other familiar motifs in a collection of lovingly handmade objects.

“It’s really exciting knowing that so many people will see the works, especially as they are intended as a celebration of everything I love about Queensland and this city,” said Atkins.

“It’s been a year full of worry and uncertainty, so I hope these sculptures are able to serve as a reminder to look on the bright side and put a bit of pep in the step of anyone who passes by.”

In her work, Beautiful One Day, Perfect the Next, illustrator and fashion designer Phoebe Paradise makes a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the contrasts of urban life in Brisbane, depicting stylish yet sweaty urbanites battling the humidity.

A projection by Kinly Grey shows the artist floating in the ocean, the horizon coming in and out of view, creating a quiet moment for viewers to contemplate our relationship to the sublime and natural world.

Holly Anderson’s work depicts bodies in shimmering summer settings, with an ominous undercurrent. Otherwise idyllic scenes are layered with an apocalyptic energy, hinting at the dangers of the sun, heat and a warming climate.

“I’ve come to realise Brisbane is my sweet spot for work and life,” said Artist Jordan Azcune. “My work in Sunny Side Up reflects this, installing a permanent blue sky and catching the sea breeze in a way the work talks to Brisbane’s geography and climate.”

Brisbane City Council Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said part of what makes Brisbane so attractive is its dynamic public art exhibitions, which are helping revitalise Brisbane’s creative scene and support local businesses by bringing extra foot traffic into the city.

“It’s great to see Sunny Side Up shine a spotlight on our young, home grown artists, who among many of us, have had to navigate extremely tough times during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Cr Schrinner.

“The Outdoor Gallery, among the many public art initiatives across the city, are great ways to provide a platform for local talent, while providing another great reason for people to come and explore our great city”.

“I encourage everyone to make a day out of this by visiting this exhibition and then our local cafes, restaurants and retailers. They are so appreciative of every dollar right now as they try and recover from the coronavirus crisis,” said Cr Schrinner.

Sunny Side Up runs at various locations throughout the Brisbane CBD from 30 November 2020 to 18 April 2021. For more information, including curator lead walking tours and more, visit: for details.

Image: Amelia Hine, Metamorphosis, 2020 – featured at Howard Smith Wharves as part of Brisbane City Council’s Outdoor Gallery exhibition, Sunny Side Up