Flamboyant flock flying in for NAFA

the Messengers of Townsville artwork will land in the city for NAFA this July. PIC: SUPPLIED/URBAN ART PROJECTS”.

A flurry of festive feathers will adorn some of Townsville’s most iconic landmarks this July, when Messengers of Townsville lands in time for the North Australian Festival of the Arts (NAFA).

The public art installation will feature six greatly-over-sized, party-hat-wearing Gouldian finches created by renowned Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman.

The work made its world premiere at Brisbane Festival in 2020 when Brisbane Festival Artistic Director Louise Bezzina commissioned the colourful Messengers of Brisbane installation as a beacon of hope for the city following an extended COVID-19 lockdown.

“These giant Gouldian finches are glorious visual reminders to look up and smile, to experience a moment of joy and to celebrate,” Ms Bezzina said.

“The Messengers will not only inspire and invigorate regional communities but will help bring local and interstate visitors to regions that are emerging from the interruptions of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.

Florentijn Hofman’s Messengers of Brisbane IMAGE: Supplied/UAD
Gouldian finches are native to Australia. IMAGE: Supplied/UAD

Townsville is the first stop for the finches, which will also visit Mackay and Blackall, before returning to Brisbane.

“I am delighted at the incredible support and assistance that Tourism and Events Queensland, Mackay Regional Council, Blackall-Tambo Regional Council and Townsville City Council have given to help us tour this magnificent and joyous public artwork,” said Ms Bezzina.

Based in The Netherlands, Mr Hofman worked with Brisbane’s UAP (Urban Art Projects) to bring his concept and designs to life for the major commission.

“This work breathes hope for better days. It symbolises celebrating life and being positive… especially during this period,” Hofman said.


NAFA will run in various locations across Townsville from 2 July to 1 August 2021.

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