Fairy Tales

Wander through a twisted woodland, see David Bowie's 'Labyrinth' costume, and enjoy Yayoi Kusama and Patricia Piccinini's magical work at GOMA's blockbuster fairy tales exhibition.
Sarah Ward
Published on March 27, 2023


They're the stories we all lapped up as kids, telling us about enchanted creatures, magic and more. They're behind plenty of movies that still grace our screens, too. And, they're the focus of a huge Australian-exclusive exhibition at Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) across the summer of 2023–24. Yes, we're talking about fairy tales.

The entrancing showcase is indeed called Fairy Tales and, taking over GOMA's entire ground floor, it explores how these folklore-, myth- and legend-related narratives have fascinated audiences through art and culture over not just years and decades, but centuries. If creepy woods have influenced sculptures, or tales of princes and princesses have inspired painters, expect to see it here, in a blockbuster showcase that runs from Saturday, December 2, 2023–Sunday, April 28, 2024.

Yayoi Kusama

Also included: everything from drawings and installations through to fashion, as well as films and filmic elements, such as props, and costumes. There's also an accompanying movie program in GOMA's Australian Cinematheque, of course, so you don't need to wish for big-screen wonders as well.

Wicked witches, magic animals (fierce and friendly alike), coming-of-age tales, shifting gender roles, bravery, loyalty, castles, coaches, pumpkins — they all feature. Artists involved include GOMA favourites Yayoi Kusama and Patricia Piccinini, plus Jana Sterbak, Kiki Smith, Abdul Abdullah, Ron Mueck and Charles Blackman. The list goes on, like breadcrumb trails.

And, if you like huge site-specific installations, the South Brisbane gallery has commissioned something special from Henrique Oliveira. The Brazilian artist has transformed the exhibition's first piece into a stunning gnarled and twisted woodland that you won't want to stop wandering through.

Exhibition images: Sarah Ward.


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