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Brisbane's Glowing After-Dark Festival Botanica Will Light Up the City Botanic Gardens Again in May

Returning for the fifth year with another batch of dazzling installations, this radiant fest will also span performances, art walks, food trucks and an outdoor bar.
By Sarah Ward
March 14, 2023
By Sarah Ward
March 14, 2023

Throughout autumn, Brisbane's nights start getting longer, with winter hovering close on the horizon. Don't think of it as a farewell to after-work sunshine, though, even if you're all about as much daylight as you can soak in. Instead, for ten days in May, think of it as the best canvas there is for the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens' returning after-dark art and light festival Botanica: Contemporary Art Outside.

This luminous fest will unfurl its fifth stint of dazzling sights from Friday, May 12–Sunday, May 21, once again turning the CBD's  riverside patch of grass into a stunning outdoor art gallery — and yes, taking full advantage of the night hours. Running from 5–10pm daily, it'll see the gardens will come alive with artworks, installations and projections, with pieces from local, national and international artists set to liven up the already-scenic inner-city spot.

Urban Totems (2022) by Kristina Knox / Maryam Shafiei / Shaden Aldakheel.

The full artist lineup hasn't yet been unveiled, but Phoebe Paradise, Theatre of Thunder and Keemon Williams will all have works on display. If previous years' pieces are anything to go by, expect everything from the gardens' plant life to its furniture and buildings to get quite the vibrant makeover.

Also, when Noa Haim joins the bill, Botanica will feature its first-ever international artist, in its latest step to cement itself as one of Brisbane's and Australia's top cultural events.

Musa (2022) by James Voller / Joel Zika.

"With a focus on sustainability, artists have responded to the 2023 theme 'tread softly', which considers a millennium of human influence. Through reflecting on our natural environments, artists envisage and shape ideas for our future direction," explains Botanica Curator Lucy Quinn.

"Year on year, Botanica has attracted a diverse and exciting pool of creatives and this year has been no exception."

Museum of our lost world (2021) by Simone Eisler.

All those shimmering sights will be again paired with twilight walks, performances, and a discovery trail for children. You'll be able to interact with the installations, too — and contribute to them — and also hit up food trucks and an outdoor bar nightly.

Of course, the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens has always been more than just that patch of grass and trees at the edge of the CBD thanks to its gorgeous greenery, ponds filled with cute turtles, free exercise classes and more — but it's never more alluring than during this fest.

And if you missed the first three events in 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022 — or if you went along and loved it — 2023's's event promises a whole heap of new garden wonders. Either way, prepare to roam through the centre of Brisbane and see its natural splendour in a whole new way.

Botanica: Contemporary Art Outside 2023 will display at the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens from Friday, May 12–Sunday, May 21. For more information, head to the Brisbane City Council website.

Images: Brisbane City Council.

Published on March 14, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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