Museum of Brisbane: Convict Tattoos Skin Stories

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The history and evolution of tattooing is fascinating. Originally reserved for criminals, now it is estimated that approximately 19% of Australians have at least one tattoo (source). As I find this particular topic very interesting, I was excited when the Museum of Brisbane released tickets for a public program titled Convict Tattoos: Skin Stories. This program was held in conjunction with their new exhibition Life in Irons, the men and women of the Moreton Bay Penal Colony. The following blog post will provide some convict context before focusing solely on the talk.

Convict Brisbane

To simplify a really long, complex and interesting story, convicts were not initially sent to the Moreton Bay Penal Colony, now modern-day Brisbane. In 1824 the decision was made to establish this colony as a place of secondary punishment for hardened criminals. Numbers fluctuated from around 947 convicts in 1831 to 374 before it was officially closed in 1842. When the colony closed, Queensland was then opened to free settlers.

Continue reading “Museum of Brisbane: Convict Tattoos Skin Stories”

UQ Art Museum: Defying Empire


On Friday night, I was fortunate enough to attend the opening of Defying Empire: 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial at the University of Queensland Art Museum. This exhibition has travelled from the National Gallery of Australia where it was on display in 2017. The evening was well-structured and it was fantastic to see so many people in attendance. I am going to focus this post on the evening itself with only occasional references to the art on display.

I will also note here that photography is not allowed in the exhibition due to copyright issues. For this reason, there will not be many images throughout the post. Continue reading “UQ Art Museum: Defying Empire”

Abbey Medieval Festival


The Abbey Medieval Festival, hosted by the Abbey Museum of Art & Archaeology, is a living history event. I have always wanted to attend the festival and see, firsthand, some historical re-enactments. Spoiler alert: it was epic. We spent the whole of Sunday walking around the festival stalls, watching some jousting and archery, and eating what was literally called meat on a stick.

Arriving at the Festival was an experience in itself. The line to buy tickets was very long so I was glad we had pre-purchased our tickets online. If you ever think of attending this festival, I strongly advise you do the same. I am an absolute champion of pre-purchasing tickets for cultural institutions because it usually means less time waiting. Continue reading “Abbey Medieval Festival”

Gallery of Modern Art: Patricia Piccinini Curious Affection


This is my first blog post in just over a month! I cannot believe how quickly time has passed since the Museums Galleries Australia Conference. Not to mention, in the last month I have secured a new role, Curator of the Integrated Pathology Learning Centre at the University of Queensland, and moved everything from Gladstone back to Brisbane. Only now have I finally found time to go and see some exhibitions! The first on my list was Patricia Piccinini Curious Affection, currently on display at GOMA.

I was ony vaguely familiar with the work of  Piccinini before visiting this exhibition. I am not a huge fan of contemporary art – my tastes are quite niche. I had seen one of her sculptures on display (cannot remember where) and thought it was both bizarre yet incredibly intriguing. Also, her work reflects pretty clear themes that I think a lot of people can recognise and even begin to engage with. Anything that brings science, technology and art together in a really out there kind of way is a huge yes from me. Continue reading “Gallery of Modern Art: Patricia Piccinini Curious Affection”

Queensland Art Gallery: Noel McKenna


Out of all the exhibitions I wanted to see in Brisbane, Landscape Mapped was at the top of my list. I had seen a few different works promoted on the webiste of QaGOMA, including the map of public bathrooms in Sydney’s CBD. In short, I was hoping for a pretty cool exhibition that used maps creatively and showed me something I had never known about Australia.

To provide some context, Noel McKenna was born and raised in Brisbane (this will be revisited later on). Over a fifteen year period, he painted maps of Australia highlighting the weird and wonderful. If I had to describe the exhibition in one word I would go with whimsical. It sparked a sense of curiosity and actually made me reconsider the geography of Australia and how it can be interpreted. In a way, this was the main aim of the exhibition – to look at Australia from a number of different perspectives showing how small parts can make up a whole. I think it most definitely achieved this goal. Continue reading “Queensland Art Gallery: Noel McKenna”

Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre


Today we crossed the border between Queensland and New South Wales to visit the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre. Set in such beautiful surrounds with views that will be Instagrammed endlessly, we were very excited to explore what was on display. There were a few temporary exhibitions and, of course, the Margaret Olley Art Centre. This post is going to cover a few different things focusing on some of the exhibitions and our guided tour.

The building was like a Tardis (relevant Doctor Who reference considering the first female doctor was revealed last night to much delight!!). From the outside you would never guess how large it is inside. There are three large rooms and a pretty big hallway. Each bit of available wall space was in use for an exhibition. Despite this, the gallery never felt cluttered. A lot of thought had gone into the construction of the building and it had a nice flowing effect. Here were my favourite exhibitions that are currently on display.  Continue reading “Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre”

Samford Village Heritage Trail


Before I begin this blog post I must be entirely honest. When we visited Samford Village today, located 30 mins outside Brisbane, we were visiting for one reason – the Harry Potter Store of Requirements. It was literally a magical place.

After purchasing everything Hufflepuff we could find, we decided to walk around the Village. There was this one building that had a sign out the front with an old photograph, some information, and a number. Intrigued, I walked across to the information centre in John Scott park to find out more. Here I was given a Samford Village Heritage Trail brochure. It is a very detailed brochure containing thirteen places of interest and a museum. Continue reading “Samford Village Heritage Trail”