Gouldian Finches (Messengers of Brisbane) - CODAworx

Gouldian Finches (Messengers of Brisbane)

Client: Brisbane Festival

Location: Brisbane, Australia

Completion date: 2020

Project Team

Client / Public Art Commissioner

Brisbane Festival

Consultant and Workshop

UAP | Urban Art Projects


Florentijn Hofman

Inflatable Manufacture



Party hats are on! This large-scale public art installation invites us to look up and smile. Six giant Gouldian Finches will fly into Brisbane to spread messages of hope during Brisbane Festival, September 2020. Created by internationally renowned artist Florentijn Hofman and brought to life by Brisbane’s UAP | Urban Art Projects, these spectacularly coloured birds invite us to look up and smile. Perched atop iconic Brisbane locations in the inner-city river area, Messengers of Brisbane can be viewed on a leisurely stroll, bike ride, or even from a CityCat.


Although conceived before the global Coronavirus outbreak, the artwork proposed for the Brisbane Festival – Messengers of Brisbane – may be prophetic in its timing. This work breathes hope: hope for better days during the Festival and into the future.

The distance of the works on rooftops and other high positions indicate aspiration and at the same time question our current situation of social distancing and what freedom means to every individual. The works gift aim and direction when creativity is paramount, and the power of imagination must be relied upon to feel a flight synonymous to the bird. The beautiful bright colours, which mimic exactly those found in the natural plume of the Gouldian Finch – encourage people likewise to be colourful and amazed by these remarkable creatures. The hat is an essential feature in this work. It is an extension of Hofman's practice where he used it as a tool in many prior works. It symbolises celebrating life, enjoying living and being positive, especially during this period, but it is also appropriate to all life situations. Being positive makes one live longer and with more quality.


Florentijn Hofman collaborated with UAP to create Messengers of Brisbane, a citywide installation consisting of six oversized Gouldian Finches which perch atop some of the city’s most iconic landmarks as part of the 2020 edition of the Brisbane Festival.

The larger-than-life inflatable rainbow finches adorn playful party hats, referencing the artist’s signature practice as an expression of joy and celebration of life. These works invite the audience to look up during their every day strolls, bike rides and CityCat journeys along the Brisbane River.

UAP used high-resolution photography and photogrammetry of taxidermied Gouldian Finches to create hyper-realistic digital representations of the iconic birds printed on UV stabilised fabric (crafted in collaboration with inflatable partner, Airena.) Each of the birds stands at seven metres tall and act as beacons of hope, inspiring the public to smile and look forward to brighter days to come.