Concrete jungles contain their own kinds of adventures – shapes and shadows, mazes of steel, glass and stone which are magnets for dreamers. Thankfully, there’s one such construction that carries trains over the Brisbane River that’s been a magnet for Brisbane street artists, and very talented ones too. Head to the southern end of Merivale Bridge and you’ll find The Pillars Project – a super-duper outdoor gallery containing some of Brisbane’s best art.
The Pillars Project – What is it?
In a combined initiative, the Brisbane Government and Queensland Rail gathered some of Australia’s best artists to adorn the pillars of Merivale Bridge. The idea was to make Brisbane more interesting when the G20 leaders visited town. Starting in 2014, The Pillars Project comprised six pillars of the bridge, painted by artists who have since become internationally renowned. A further five artworks have been added and when I was there just yesterday, I saw one more in progress.
This area under Merivale Bridge is a known gathering place for Indigenous people and has been for thousands of years. I saw a couple of Aboriginal people gathered near pillar 10, the first artwork I came across. Several of the scenes depicted under Merivale Bridge focus on Aboriginal Australia and others are introspective pieces on Brisbane itself.
My Experience – A Journey to the Brisbane Street Artists
I work in the CBD and it’s a nice walk to Merivale Bridge that’s not too long if you find yourself in the centre. Find Tank Street and walk along Kurilpa Bridge until you reach the end, then mosey on down Riverside Drive. This is a pleasant way to reach The Pillars Project, unless you’re coming from South Brisbane, then you can disregard these directions.
It was approaching sunset when I was wandering along Riverside Drive, people-watching and listening to music. Keep walking past William Jolly Bridge and the next one is Merivale Bridge. It’s here that you’ll find a piece called Boundary Street by Matt Adnate. I won’t bang on about lines, contours and shadows. I’ll just provide a link to the artist’s works under each image and you can read more about them if you want to.
I will say though, one thing I loved about these pieces, as well as other artworks I’ve seen across Brisbane, is their location. The hum and the movement of Australia’s third largest city, in front of and around these pieces of such introspection, depth and beauty, was interesting. Particularly as the expressions of these Brisbane street artists are so still. Check out my reel below where I’ve purposely shown movement in front of and around the art.
The artworks are all listed in order, from the river going outwards.
Which one’s your favourite?