About the artist
Waiben, Thursday Island, b. 1974
Brian Robinson is a multi-skilled contemporary artist whose practice includes painting, printmaking, sculpture and design.
Born on Waiben (Thursday Island), Brian is of the Kala Lagaw and Wuthanthi language groups of the Torres Strait and Cape York Peninsula. He is known for his printmaking and public sculptures in which he uses a variety of techniques to produce bold, innovative and distinctive artworks. Through his work, Brian pays homage to his Torres Strait Islander heritage and connections to the tropical marine environment of his home.
Brian’s work has contributed significantly to the environs of Far North Queensland through a number of major public art installations, including the signature stainless steel woven fish sculptures and fountain installed on the Cairns Esplanade in 2003.
His work is widely collected in Australia and overseas.
About the artwork
Brian’s work for the Centre of Children’s Research, Waru Kazi, is based on the concept of three turtle hatchlings and is an extension of the ground plane artwork Warual (meaning turtles in the Western Torres Strait Island language of Kala Lagaw Ya) created for the adjacent Queensland Children’s Hospital.
Waru Kazi means young turtle and the artwork touches on the birth stories of three Queensland turtle species – Hawksbill, Green and Loggerhead turtles.
A focal point of the building’s landscaped entry precinct, nine etched concrete discs, each 500mm in diameter, are scattered around the ground plane in a way that emulates the compelling journeys of the hatchlings on the way to the sea.
The artwork uses visual and textural elements in a sculptural manner, reflecting the natural environment of Queensland’s east coast and Great Barrier Reef and incorporating the intricate extensions of traditional motifs, animal tracks and land, sea and air patterns prevalent in Torres Strait Islander cultures. Their circular shape also reflects the shape of petri dishes used in medical research and the bird’s eye view one would see when looking through a microscope.