Magnificent Flying Machines Approach Brisbane
  • Kenji Uranishi, Magnificent Flying Machines, 2019. Photo: CREATIVEMOVE
  • Kenji Uranishi, Magnificent Flying Machines, 2019. Photo: CREATIVEMOVE
  • Kenji Uranishi, Magnificent Flying Machines, 2019. Photo: CREATIVEMOVE

Kenji Uranishi’s Magnificent Flying Machines are a new series of art beacons developed to mark the journey along Kingsford Smith Drive, and they make a feature of the approach into Brisbane. Their gentle aesthetic was inspired by the Orchard Swallowtail butterfly (the largest common local butterfly) and reflect a concept of being ‘guided home’ for arrivals from Brisbane airport. They also connect Kingsford Smith Drive’s function as a transit corridor between the airport and the city to the remarkable achievements of aviators such as Charles Kingsford Smith and the recently recognised Lores Bonney, both of whom once lived in nearby Hamilton.

Themes and concepts for significant public art in this precinct for Brisbane City were developed by CREATIVEMOVE from 2015-2017, working with Lendlease and the Kingsford Smith Design Joint Venture (KSDJV). A collaboration with team members including Lat27 resulted in a public art strategy for this landmark infrastructure project to recognise Brisbane’s rich and layered history. All artworks developed for this gateway to the CBD focus on celebrating Brisbane’s unique climate, landscape, culture and heritage and merge this history with contemporary Brisbane life and visions for the city’s future prosperity.

Kenji Uranishi was born in Japan in 1973 and has been based in Australia since 2004. He works predominantly in porcelain, exploring the natural and built environment, place and belonging. His Magnificent Flying Machines beacons are streamlined and aerodynamic in feel, inspired by the propeller forms on the aircraft the Hamilton aviators flew on uncharted journeys. He said, “Moulded and twisted forms are reminiscent of a chrysalis from which a butterfly has taken flight. Their colours and the patterns of the handcrafted ceramic tiles on them are drawn from the Orchard Swallowtail.”

The beacons offer a visual reference point along the roadway and are softly lit at night. They create Kingsford Smith Drive as a metaphor for transformation as people travel in either direction, anticipating what may lie ahead. Inspired by magnificent adventures and tenacious determination, these Magnificent Flying Machines may prompt viewers to challenge themselves or to reflect on life’s constant transformation. Kenji Uranishi is represented by Ander Baker Art Dealer.