A Taste of Brisbane.
2013 proved to be a busy travel year for Brunyfire and partner – starting with the Melbourne Food Festival, then some time in Indonesia (Bali and Lombok), a fantastic 10 day Sri Lankan sojourn, catching up with the team (aka jetsetvagabond, Ballerina Girl and Sassy Moon) on Thursday Island and just recently, a special pre-Christmas adventure on one of Australia’s most beautiful sand dunes conceived and organised by the TI team.
But first, from Bruny to Brisbane for a little cultural time out before going bush.
Previously familiar with Brisbane’s Southbank, this was Brunyfire’s first stay within the city itself which provided a good opportunity to check out a few eateries like Charlotte’s Street San Churro’s Chocolateria……….. ………with its Christmas flair………………and its choux based pastry churros that are extruded through star-shaped dies into vats of boiling oil. These deep fried delicacies are then sprinkled with a mixture of fine sugar and cinnamon………..………..and served up with a choice of dunking chocolates and a steaming cup of drinking chocolate.This was followed by a Japanese sushi lunch and a Chinese influenced afternoon tea at GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art). Afternoon tea was inspired by the exhibition of commissioned works Falling Back to Earth by Cai Guo-Qiang, a Chinese contemporary artist and curator who lives and works in New York City.
As part of the exhibition, a tea pavilion had been created for viewers and samples of speciality Chinese tea where on offer. Ti Kuan Yin is a legendary oolong tea from the Fujian province of China and a cold pressed version was being offered exhibition goers as a taster to beat the Brissie heat….. ……….along with tea infused desserts, inspired by the exhibition, that were available at the cafe.
Looking like art works, with the most delicious sounding names – for example: Jasmine sago pudding with preserved kumquat………………and steamed Peach buns……….……….and a Jade green tea and pandan mooncake………..……….these proved to be more a feast for the eyes. The desserts ended up being disappointingly dull and flavourless!
Things looked better the following morning, when a stroll over the bridge to Southbank found us having Brazilain açaí with granola for breakfast. The açaí berry comes from a palm, and is normally made into juice but in this instance, it came frozen with a crunchy topping of toasted granola.Enroute to Southbank, we were lucky to catch the last Queen Street Farmers Market for 2013 where the country is brought to the city with farm fresh fruit and veg, fresh juices, ginger beer, popcorn, honey, bread, biscuits, bagels, fresh pasta, hot smoked salmon, meat, seafood, small goods and hot foods from around the world.
So there was an abundance of fresh fruit in season – mangoes………………and cherries……..………and a display of local honey that caught Brunyfire’s eye. According to AB’s Honey (Australian Beekeepers Honey), their produce comes from 600 different species of Eucalyptus trees that flourish in the forests of Queensland and New South Wales. The honey stall was in front of an interesting looking backdrop, which I initially assumed was part of AB’s display – mimicking as it did, a honeycomb effect. Then when I realised these objects were throughout the mall where the market had been set up, I finally recognised them for what they really were.These fabulous domes, constructed from steamers are by well known Australian artist, and ex Tasmanian School of Art graduate, Donna Marcus. Marcus has made a name for herself by using the discarded and unloved – those objects often from the kitchen that have been sourced from Tip Shops and places like the Salvos and Vinnies and recycled into intriguing sculptures. Steam was a public art project commissioned in 2006 by the Brisbane City Council of a series of 15 geodesic spheres made from stainless steel steamers inserted into pentagonal and hexagonal panels that were then bolted together to form the spheres.The aesthetic of repetition that Marcus achieves here (these pieces are lit up at night by the way) was repeated in the amazing works of Cai Guo-Qiang. Only he uses the organic as opposed to Marcus’s use of the industrial – in Guo-Qiang’s case, all the creatures in his Falling Back to Earth installations were constructed (polystyrene and goat fur) – they are not the art of the taxidermist.
Head On (first created in 2006) is a striking installation of 99 artificial wolves leaping en masse into a glass wall – repetition in this instance is created by the organic mass of the animal’s, there are 99 of them and repetition is also in their efforts to keep attempting the impossible – the wolves fall to earth, and line up to leap again.TI team leader of the pack, jetsetvagabond in photographic mode.Heritage also comprises of 99 wild animals from all parts of the world. They drink companionably – foe next to potential prey – from a blue lake surrounded by pristine white sand. It’s an installation of optimism, hopeless as it might seem that living together, man and beast, humanity and nature, could be harmonious. The piece was inspired by the artist’s visit to Blue Lake on North Stradbroke Island in 2011. In its pristine white surroundings, ‘the frozen tableau of beautiful endangered animals made life-like by art confronts us with what we have lost in our environment and what we are yet to lose if we don’t take action’.
What better introduction to the next phase of our adventure – we were headed to our own dazzling white sands – those of Fraser Island.