The local hype ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games is ramping up, with parts of the city already transforming in preparation for the Games.
As well as qualifying basketball matches being played at the Entertainment and Convention Centre, Townsville will be one of five staging cities for Festival 2018 – the arts and culture program run in conjunction with the Games. One of the most prominent face-lifts occurring in preparation for the Festival is the installation of Uncontained at Strand Park – a number of shipping containers stacked around the park, showcasing artwork produced by local, national and international artists.
Commonwealth Games Working Group Chair Cr Kurt Rehbein said Uncontained would play host to many of Townsville’s Festival 2018 events.
“Uncontained is an iconic part of Festival 2018 run as part of the Commonwealth Games here in Townsville. We’ve got a number of artists – local, national and international – performing their style of freehand street art over these containers, with a stage and big screen as well. [Australian hip-hop group] Thundamentals will be opening Uncontained on 5 April with a free event for the community and that’s what Festival 2018 is all about; our community coming together to enjoy the Games and being a part of it,” Cr Rehbein said.
“I admire the skill these street artists have doing this – I can’t draw a stick figure so I love what they’re doing, it takes a lot of skill and dedication throughout their lives to get to this point in their career and it’s good to see it brought to Townsville.
Local artist and member of the Run Collective, Shane Troubles, said it was great for artists to have their skills recognised locally alongside visiting artists.
“I’ve been painting in Townsville for about 15 years, so getting the call to be involved in this was great. It’s always good to get a bit of respect for something you’ve been doing for so long,” Shane said.
“This is the biggest project we’ve been a part of for sure. One of the best parts of doing events like this is we get to work with artists from all around Australia and overseas. We really enjoy that and it helps people understand North Queensland’s street art culture which is surprising to a lot of artists.”
“I’m working with my mates Vix and Jon Electros painting the stage for the festival. It will include Irukandji, octopus and reef fish and it’s a kind of mystical, psychedelic world. We’ve got other murals in Townsville and a certain style we like to work in so we’re trying to keep that consistent but then bring in elements of North Queensland – so it’s kind of like space and North Queensland themes mixed together.”
Mayor Jenny Hill said elements of Festival 2018 such as Uncontained wouldn’t have been possible without State Government support.
“This concept started when the State Government told us funding would be made available for Festival 2018, so we put local arts groups together to determine what they could help us with in terms of creating this community festival, and that’s really where Uncontained came from: it’s a grassroots production from the Townsville community,” Cr Hill said.
“We’ve been thinking about whether there could be an opportunity to place these containers around the city [after Festival 2018] – I think what the festival is showing us already is that we could possibly have a biennial festival similar to this in our community. We’ve already seen great feedback in terms of ticket bookings and public response to the concerts, so let’s see how this goes.”
Catch the launch of Uncontained as part of Festival 2018 from 5 April – for a program of Festival events and ticketing information, click here.