Media Release: Neighbourhood Centre bursts with colour as artwork commemorating queer community is launched.

Saturday 13 September 2014

(this is the media release sent to gay and mainstream media - plus some addition comments, photos and video footage)

Today saw approximately 120 people attend the official launch and unveiling of a new permanent artwork in the front grounds of the New Farm Neighbourhood Centre (NFNC). There was a mood of joy and celebration as the artwork was jointly unveiled by community members, representatives of numerous Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) support services, Councillor Howard (Central ward), and representatives of the eight businesses who donated materials or in-kind support to the artwork project.  

The symbolic 3-metre tall artwork is made of ceramic tiles and features a bold colourful rainbow breaking free of a traditional closet (wardrobe). One of the closet doors features an engaging and educational component - a backlit panel containing words relevant to LGBTIQ people. The artwork commemorates the local LGBTIQ community, and aims to enhance the visibility and social inclusion of the Queer community. A project team - comprising NFNC coordinator Fiona Hunt, NFNC previous Community Engagement Officer Clare Lindop, artist Karl de Waal and community member Phil Browne - had been working for the last 15 months to plan and deliver this artwork, which was created out of a series of 3 workshops where community members gathered to discuss the history, culture and identity of the Queer community in the Inner City.

This artwork has been made possible through the generous support of the Brisbane City Council (BCC) via a Community Development project grant, and has attracted widespread community support. Ten community organisations supplied letters supporting the artwork, to include in the grant application to BCC. Additionally, eight businesses provided materials and/or in-kind support in constructing the artwork.

The artwork launch was an official event of the Brisbane Pride Festival, which runs the full month of September. The artwork was officially unveiled from beneath a massive rainbow flag, borrowed from the Pride festival, which was used to drape the artwork.

A video of the artwork being unveiled can be viewed here (courtesy of Matt Stevens)

Participants at the launch also viewed display panels from the 2010 Prejudice and Pride exhibition at the Museum of Brisbane, commemorating the past LGBTIQ history of Brisbane. Hotmale choir performed the song “Equality”, and attendees drew a large chalk rainbow crossing beside the artwork and leading up to the Neighbourhood Centre entrance.

Speakers and participants at the launch spoke of the positive impact the artwork will have to increase inclusion for, and understanding of LGBTIQ people:

New Farm Neighbourhood Centre Coordinator, Fiona Hunt, says We are proud of this project and are grateful to Brisbane City Council, the organisers and the participants for all of their efforts.”

Karl de Waal, the artist who worked with the community to develop the artwork, comments that he "hopes the resulting sculpture encapsulates and celebrates the spirit and diversity of the LGBTIQ community.”

Karen Dare, CEO of the Neighbourhood Centre's over-arching body Communify, was enthusiastic in her support, stating “it's a most beautiful piece of art, and I would like to see it used as a symbol of inclusion across Australia.”

President of the Brisbane Pride Festival, Peter Black, said Permanent works of art like this are important to the LGBTIQ community. They not only give us an opportunity to symbolically showcase our diverse and vibrant culture, they are also a representation of public acceptance."

 The feelings of many people moved by the artwork, were summed up by Sue Eagleton, saying“it brought tears to my eyes - it’s just fabulous”

Another participant, Tony Robertson, said the artwork “is a reminder that the language of love is richer than people imagine.”

Quite simply, a beautiful representation of our incredible community” said Kel Kidd.

Speaking of the symbolism of the rainbow, Robbie Shipley commented “today we anchored a rainbow in words, images and love.” He adds that “tomorrow we seeks it's end.”

Referring to the words forming part of the artwork, Selwyn Smith states “I'm stoked that "Love" shone out prominently."

A unique feature is the internal lighting system, which illuminates the artwork with cycles of rainbow colours as night falls. 

A night time artwork viewing, has been organised for Saturday 4 October at NFNC from 5.30 pm, followed by a BYO everything BBQ, at the electric BBQs in New Farm Park. A Facebook event for this night viewing is here (please use this for online media articles)

The sheer joy of leaning up against Queensland's first-ever queer artwork.

For a number of years, NFNC have displayed a rainbow flag in their front window as a sign of inclusion and welcome to LGBTIQ people. Upon the unveiling of this artwork, this has been removed and taken to NFNC's over-arching body, Communify's Bardon headquarters, to be flown from their flagpole to commemorate the Brisbane Pride festival.

The project team who developed the artwork, wish to thank the following companies for generously donating materials used in constructing the artwork, and/or other in-kind assistance.

  • Groove Tiles and Stone, Fortitude Valley.

  • Trend Australasia

  • Empyrean Lighting, Sippy Downs.

  • Inlite Lighting, Fortitude Valley.

  • Multitech Solutions, Coorparoo.

  • Brisbane Institute of Art, Windsor.

  • Brisbane Make Goods, New Farm.

  • CPC Electrical Services.

The scale model concept, as discussed with workshop participants, in front of the finished artwork.

Photos Attached for media articles - provided courtesy of Tony Robertson.

Photo 1 - the artwork

Photo 2 - a close up view of the artwork wording.

Media contact –Fiona Hunt, Coordinator New Farm Neighbourhood Centre Ph: