Botanica - Contemporary Art Outside and the Talented First Nations Poets Performing  

Discover a stunning open-air art exhibition at the Botanic Gardens in Brisbane City: Botanica - Contemporary Art Outside. As the sun sets, watch the Botanic Gardens come to life with large-scale projections, interactive artworks and contemporary installations that will captivate both adults and children. There's a wide range of unique activities for all ages, including a children’s discovery trail and art workshops, guided twilight walks, sound walks and poetry performances. The event goes from Friday the 7th of May to Sunday the 16th of May. Botanica is a free public event and part of Brisbane Art Design (BAD) 2021 - an initiative of the Museum of Brisbane (MoB) to spotlight Brisbane’s art and design scene. Enjoy Botanica Live Nights on Friday to Sunday evenings during the course of the event for live music, delicious food trucks and an outdoor bar (Brisbane City Council, 2021). 

The outdoor art event will feature new artworks from some of Australia’s leading contemporary designers and artists. Botanica will explore the nexus of art and design practice, and encourage conversations around our natural, built and digital environments (Brisbane City Council, 2021). For more information about the free festival and for workshop bookings click here. 

‘Ripple’ immersive audiovisual installation by artist Georgie Pinn. Courtesy of Brisbane City Council, 2021.

In particular, come and check out the upcoming event in this festival: Live Spoken Word mindfulness: Jenna Lee x Spoken Word artists. Inspired by Jenna Lee’s artwork Breathing Spaces, three performers will use poetry, melody and rap to explore the First Nations peoples’ understanding of place, nature and water. Jenna Lee’s artwork Breathing Spaces will be displayed via a projection in the City Botanic Gardens during the duration of this event (see the Botanica map on the event page for its location). Lee proudly identifies as a mixed-race Larrakia, Wardaman and Karajarri, Asian (Japanese, Chinese, Filipino) and Anglo-Australian woman. Breathing Spaces looks to recontextualise colonial text about public spaces to include knowledge of place, long known by First Nations Peoples. This recontextualisation presents itself as a poem that includes First Nations’ knowledge of space, place, water and nature. The poem is created in hopes of weaving the aforementioned perspectives back into the public knowledge of the area (Brisbane City Council, 2021).

‘Breathing Spaces’ projection of informative, thought-provoking poem by Larrakia, Wardaman, Karajarri, Asian and Anglo-Australian artist, Jenna Lee. Courtesy of Brisbane City Council, 2021. 


The performers will dissect parts of history to create enchanting story lines and metaphors for audiences to relax and get lost in. This free public event will commence on Saturday the 8th of May from 5:15pm to 5:45pm, and is open to all ages (Brisbane City Council, 2021). To register for this event and to find out more click here.

One of the performers involved is multidisciplinary artist and proud Jamaican and Arrernte woman, Aurora Liddle-Christie. In 2017, Aurora graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Drama from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Her practice draws on the experience of Australia’s First Nations Peoples and People of Colour at the intersection of connections to Country, community, spirituality and activism. Aurora explores these experiences through the mediums of singing, songwriting, theatre performance, playwriting and the spoken word (QAGOMA, 2021).

Check out Aurora’s performance for La Boite Theatre’s (2021) collection of short films The Welcome, an extension of the critically acclaimed 2020 stage production The Neighbourhood. The series shares stories about migrant, refugee and First Nations’ experiences and what it means to belong in Australia from emerging Queensland artists:

Check out Aurora’s poetry performance at Women of the World (WOW) Australia for the 2020 Brisbane Festival:


Check out Aurora’s poetry performance in support of Unfinished Business: The Art of Gordon Bennett - the first large-scale exhibition of Bennett’s work, featuring 200 artworks, ranging from installation and sculpture to painting and video - at QAGOMA. The organisation Voices of Colour provides a platform for poets who identify as First Nations or People of Colour to share their art in the hopes to create conversation and change people’s mindsets through the spoken word (QAGOMA, 2021):

The other First Nations Australian performer in this event is Quandamooka rapper, musician, theatre performer and poet Ethan Enoch-Barlow. Ethan has performed with groups such as Digi Youth Arts, Conscious Mic and Voices of Colour. He’s also a part of the critically acclaimed La Boite Theatre show Brother’s Book Club, written and performed by The Mama’s Boys Collective, which Ethan is a part of. Ethan’s contribution to the writing of this show lays bare contemporary Australian masculinity, while redefining brotherhood, family and adolescence (QAGOMA, 2021).

Check out Ethan’s poetry performance in support of Unfinished Business: The Art of Gordon Bennett at QAGOMA (QAGOMA, 2021):

At Yarn, we are all for supporting and sharing the accomplishments of all kinds of emerging artists, from poets to theatre performers to visual artists. We would love to see more Indigenous poets become known within the Australian mainstream live performance space, as they have such beautiful language and perspective-changing narratives to share to the world!