Mural on external wall with text 'Don't forget to stop and share the roses'. Images of red roses and green leaves.

Russell Street Streetscape Refresh project - public artwork 

As part of the Russell Street Streetscape Refresh project, a number of artworks were installed in Russell Street and the surrounding Laneways. Find out some information about the artwork below. 

 

karri mcpherson

2023, Acrylic mural

Becker Lane, Toowoomba City Centre 

Rise and Shine is an abstract mural inspired by the blossoming of Toowoomba each year during Springtime. Throughout the six years that artist Karri McPherson lived in Toowoomba, she always looked forward to the Carnival of Flowers and the abundance of colour that would befall the city each September. Stylistically this mural is inspired by traditional folk art and Swiss Graphic Design, as well as Geometric Abstraction and Pop Art. The colours used in this mural are a harmony of cool and warm complementary tones reminiscent of the abundant colours found in the Region during Spring. Rise and Shine is a show-stopping mural designed to instill a sense of awe and wonderment for the profound beauty of nature, whilst reinforcing the positive impact that contemporary art has in public spaces.

Commissioned by Toowoomba Regional Council as part of the Russell Street Streetscape Refresh Project.

katie whyte

 2022-23, Acrylic mural and street print

Newlands Lane, Toowoomba City Centre 

To preserve and celebrate the rich history and ongoing narrative of the Russell Street urban landscape, this mural pays tribute to its changing visual identity. Bold layers reflect three key elements: the iconic architectural facades that were once the original main street of Toowoomba; the site's natural past as a series of rivers and creeks; and the mountain tops of the surrounding Great Dividing Range. These continual lines map the outline of the changing horizons over time whilst channeling the rhythmic flow of an abstract river running through the street. A continual process of change, layers of time, and the stories that shape each layer.

Commissioned by Toowoomba Regional Council as part of the Russell Street Streetscape Refresh Project.

2023, Bronze plaques

mkt 1  mkt 2 mkt 3 mkt 4 mkt 5 mkt 6 mkt 7mkt 8mkt 9 mkt 10  

Various locations of Russell Street, between Victoria Street and Neil Street, Toowoomba City Centre

The series of bronze plaques symbolically capture a snapshot of some of the characters, goods and services of Russell Street. They represent the here and now, but also celebrate some interesting historical tidbits, and subtly incorporate Indigenous wayfaring symbols. The confluence of flood prone waterways, the nearby Railway Station, and the varied journeys of people and businesses over time, have all contributed to the natural evolution of this place. The designs, whilst underfoot, mimic the iconic pressed metal awnings hanging overhead, leading the viewer to pause and contemplate whilst making their own journey along Russell Street. 

Commissioned by Toowoomba Regional Council as part of the Russell Street Streetscape Refresh Project.

becker ln ben tupas

western ln ben tupas

newlands ln ben tupas

bank ln ben tupas

A series of four acrylic street prints at laneway entrances on Russell Street, Toowoomba City Centre: 

East Meets West(ern), Western Lane

Community Investment, Bank Lane 

Family Name, Becker Lane 

Migratory Patterns, Newlands Lane 

In Social Fabric, I celebrate the strong connections that enable enduring community resilience. All four street prints use this stylised, repeating image of cotton thread magnified under a microscope, cropped within a hexagonal frame. This design element pays tribute to the many drapery stores that once traded on the original main street selling fabric, textiles, and imported clothing. A meandering stream of blue intersects each patterned print to symbolise the natural waterways that flow in and around the city centre. Through history, water - be it in flood or drought - has tested the measure and strength of Toowoomba's social fabric. 

Commissioned by Toowoomba Regional Council as part of the Russell Street Streetscape Refresh Project. 

 

cheryl moggs updated

 

bloodlines one

bloodlines lighting 2

2023, Acrylic street print, laser cut coated metal panels, gobo lighting projection 

Corner of Victoria St and Russell St, Toowoomba City Centre 

Bloodlines encapsulates ancestral connections, spirit of place, cultural knowledge and identity. Artworks comprising of symbolic and pattern narratives are captured in surface decoration and form, illuminated through light, and carved in steel. Together they create a sense of belonging, connection to the landscape, and cultural knowledge that flows through veins of river systems. The patterns of rock wells (waterways) fall upon the cement plaza, bloodlines flow across the street way, trickles of water attached to lines of mudflats are illuminated in the night sky. The work has been made to complement the landscape and express a story of history, culture, people, and country. 

Commissioned by Toowoomba Regional Council as part of the Russell Street Streetscape Refresh Project. 

 

2023, Laser cut coated metal panels, lighting

navigating the night sky

Russell St, between Ruthven St and Neil St, Toowoomba City Centre 

Navigating the night sky embodies knowledge of wayward points called Sky Maps, connecting traditional landscapes, sky, and waterways, and guiding First Nations people to specific locations. Recording time, Songline narratives (singing the land) connect to travel routes used for ceremony and other purposes. 

These artworks, formed by architectural symbolism and lighting in metal, reference Aboriginal cosmologies linked to my ancestors, the Bigambul people, who crossed this landscape for the Bunya Gathering - walking from Goondiwindi, following the sky maps, singing the land (songlines), camping on other traditional lands with permissions given for ceremony and celebration. 

Commissioned by Toowoomba Regional Council as part of the Russell Street Streetscape Refresh project.

 
 

one place many voices one

one place two

one place three

2023, Acrylic mural, laser cut coated metal panels, lighting, gobo projections 

Russell Street, near Ruthven Street corner, Toowoomba City Centre 

One Place May Voices defines the essence of place for others who were here before us, First Nations people, and others who have come after. It is the story of a diverse range of cultures sharing common interests, passing knowledge and heritage over time, and defining a cohesive sense of community, identity, and relationships. 

The artwork is symbolically instilled with themes of Meeting Place, Ceremony, Country, Connection and Community, and embedded in brick surface design, illuminated metal structures, and light projections. 

One Place Many Voices expresses stories of pilgrimage of First Nations people travelling to the Bunya Gathering, navigating the night sky and caring for Country, bound by cultural practices of women's and men's business, intricately linked through river systems. 

Commissioned by Toowoomba Regional Council as part of the Russell Street Streetscape Refresh Project.

Bringing our city's public spaces to life

Art in public spaces is a common sight in Toowoomba. Wandering through the streets and laneways is a great way to fill in an afternoon, learn about our Region and discover talented artists.

Public artworks partially funded by ratepayers and installed from June 2019 are listed below with a description of the artwork.

 

Outdoor art galleries - First Coat

Hidden within Toowoomba's CBD streets and laneways are over 80 street art murals, painted as part of several First Coat Festivals held in Toowoomba. These murals can be admired year-round as you stroll around the streets.

Founded in 2013, Australian artist and curator team, Ian McCallum and Grace Dewar partnered with us to present a three-day mural festival - the First Coat Festival. Over a four year period, First Coat Festival created over 80 unique and colourful murals throughout the city.

 

Baiame artworkBaiame 2019 - Cathro Park near Ruthven Street

Artists: Kim Walmsley and Braham Stevens

Artwork: Cast aluminium with paint and sandblasted concrete (image of artwork awaiting installation on right)

Baiame was developed through a collaboration between local Indigenous artist, Kim Walmsley, and Far North Queensland-based artist, Braham Stevens. Inspired by stories from the Dreaming, the artwork is an abstract interpretation of the ancestral spirit ‘Baiame’ and the fundamental elements of earth, air, fire, wood, metal and water.

The bands of alternating fluid patterns and hand-drawn markings across the sculpture explore symbolic representations of these natural elements. The smaller figure nestled within the work is the ‘Water Spirit’ who, with the Dragonfly and Water Dragon guardians along the pathway, reference the surrounding swamplands and ideas of growth and resilience. Created in a spirit of artistic collaboration, Baiame is a reflection of the region’s cultural and natural heritage, as well as the diversity of the local community.

Toowoomba Region logo and Queensland Government logo

Delivery of a public artwork as part of the Cathro Park Railway Parklands Linkage Project was overseen by a public art reference group which was formed in 2017. In August 2018, UAP Australia (Urban Art Projects) won an open tender to develop, design, commission, fabricate and install the public artwork at Cathro Park.

Expressions of interest were called for artists to develop concepts and from the 22 received, three were short listed. This first phase was co-managed by UAP and Creative Move Brisbane. From the shortlisted designs, the public art reference group recommended the concept design from Braham Stevens and Kim Walmsley to proceed to completion and installation.

The concept draws on Kim’s artistic practice where she explores her relationship to place and to her culture through dreamtime stories. She references deities connected to many lands. This story is not specifically of this place of the Jarawair peoples.

As an indigenous artist, Kim hopes to learn of all First nations history, dreaming, song and dance so that she can reconnect with the world’s oldest living culture. She speaks of gaining a better understanding of, and renewed belief in, spirit and ancestors.

Baiame features in the dreaming of several indigenous language groups. Baiame came down from the fifth dimension to this planet and created rivers, mountains, and forests. Kim has tried to embody various spirit figures in this rendition of the Spirit Father.

The surface design features patterns created by both artists. Braham’s elements feature naturally occurring patterns and shapes found in nature and living things. Kim’s are based on plants like Gumbi Gumbi, bunya nut, wood, rain, and energy.

To support the main figure the artists devised patterns for sandblasting onto the pathway leading to and from the sculpture. These are of a dragonfly and a water dragon and they connect with the water concept within the artwork and the creek in Cathro Park.

Artist with Baiame installationKim Walmsley - Toowoomba 

Kim Walmsley’s art is an expression of her connections with her traditions and cross-cultural experiences and her connectedness to the earth and its elements. Kim explores numerous mediums and design elements and has a distinctive and original style. She creates a balance between shades of light and dark through the softness and vibrancies of her unique interpretation of the land and beauty of Aboriginal spirituality with strong linear qualities.

“It’s not just about painting. My ability to create is connected to my heritage. Being Aboriginal is a gift and being an artist is my purpose. My role is to play one small part in the regeneration of our people’s connection to their spiritual identity.

I was adopted and raised by wonderful people and have lived a life that has taught me to appreciate and respect many cultures and people.

The older we get, the wiser we should be. We can truly flourish and appreciate our purpose and goals to create happiness from within as a part of the cycle of life.

My art is about connecting to the elements, to people and to stories.

Knowing where you come from can make such a difference in developing a sense of belonging and wellbeing.

Kim as a proud Mununjali/ Wiradjuri woman now calls Toowoomba home and acknowledges the Jarowair and Giabul people as the traditional custodians of the land, like many of the other Aboriginal people who have travelled from their country to live in Toowoomba.

The people of the Mununjali were visitors to this land many years ago. Attending ceremonies on the outskirts of Toowoomba and festivals in the Bunya Mountains with many groups from around Queensland and beyond, Mununjali has a clear connection with this land and its past.

Image to right: Baiame and Kim Walmsley during fabrication.

Braham Stevens - Bamboo Mountains, Far North Queensland

Braham Stevens (born 1969) - an Australian based site-responsive collaborative artist whose captivating sculptures and thought-provoking interventions are dramatic in scale and daring in their form. The artist’s choice of advanced materials, highly contrasting finishes and bespoke surface treatment are as important as the sculpture’s bold fluid aesthetic.

The artist’s contemporary large-scale multi-media practice is geared towards the architectural and public domains - predominately transforming heavy-gauge advanced metals/alloys, oversize random stone and hardwood into bold fluid sculptural form. A focus of enquiry into contours, fractals, regenerating cyclical patterns and natures diverse forms of fluid expression informs the artist’s evocative biomorphic signature-aesthetic, that defines vivid negative space through multi-layered positive reinforcement.

The resulting inherent dichotomy imbues his artwork with an engaging depth, character, tactility and visually striking readable at distance multidimensional detail - executed with a level of artisan craftsmanship and refinement not often seen at that scale. The resolved and integrated outcome, acting as a powerful complementary counterpoint to activate the landscape, architecture and built environment, setting up a potent site specific dialogue, tension and multi-layered connection to place.