Botanica: Contemporary Art Outside 2023

Brisbane's glowing after-dark festival lights up the City Botanic Gardens with dazzling art, performances, food trucks and an outdoor bar.
Sarah Ward
Published on 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 unfurls 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.

The full artist lineup includes Phoebe Paradise, Theatre of Thunder and Keemon Williams, plus Slow Art Collective, Christian Reitano, Lyn Nagayama, Shelby Lee, Soma Lumia, Adriaan de Man, Mel Robson, Ellis Hutch, Lyn Haddon, Dan Luo and Weixin Huang, Together, they're all helping to give everything from the gardens' plant life to its furniture and buildings quite the vibrant makeover.

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

All those shimmering sights are paired with twilight walks, performances, and a discovery trail for children. You can 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.

Images: Bec Taylor. Updated Friday, May 12.


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