City Centre Revitalisation Public Art
Canefire: Niche Art
Mackay’s most central public art installation, Canefire was inspired by the city’s natural landscape and predominant natural resource, sugarcane.
Designed by Niche Art, Canefire seeks to capture the light and movement in an explosively burning and fragmented mass of sugar cane in its shiny chrome formation.
Its position, on a roundabout that is the fulcrum within the Mackay City Centre, allows for its visibility and vistas to four streets. It also offers an interactive opportunity, with an app available to influence its lighting component active in the evening.
Building Blooms: Brian Robinson
There are strange new blossoms in Mackay’s Wood Street - four large, unexpected and colourful protrusions from the footpaths and central traffic island in the city’s heart.
These are triffids on a large scale, gigantic organic shapes that demand attention. Their strident form and colour, their prominent positions, and repetitive elements, unite the four individually fabricated blooms, and more than fulfil the brief for public art in this important city refurbishment, which specified vibrancy and colour.
Artist Brian Robinson, a north Queenslander by virtue of his Torres Strait Islander heritage, is known for his ability to combine elements organic and manmade into a unique fusion that speaks to both popular culture and art history, to his own heritage and to broad contemporary interests. His response to the brief went beyond surface decoration and colourful appeal to evoke and reflect the city’s art deco heritage and historic ambience, while embracing the fecundity and strangeness of north Queensland’s flora and fauna.
Robinson described the Deco Blooms as designed to “fuse with the Art Deco features of Mackay’s built heritage”, while his Urban Blooms speak to “the flowering plants from the botanic gardens, not only in Mackay but spread across the Eastern seaboard. They use the two elements together to celebrate growth and life.” In their intense blues they acknowledge the Pioneer River, but their vibrant formations and rainbow colours also evoke a joyous imagination and wonderment vested in nature, from an artist whose childhood was spent amongst the tropical possibilities of north Queensland.