At the turn of the twentieth century there was a global explosion of pleasure travel due to more accessible modes of transport, and a new genre of lithographic travel posters emerged. In the 1930s and 40s the Queensland Government Tourism Bureau produced destinations posters that promoted Far North Queensland as a tropical paradise. Destination North is a contemporary take on this advertising campaign.
For this exhibition, the Gallery has worked with and commissioned seven early career artists to design a series of illustrations that offer contemporary interpretations of Cairns as a lifestyle and holiday destination.
Harry Bate’s works playfully locate black and white characters within the fronds of lush foliage and fruits, while Yixy Ruan looks at the region through a selection of exotic fruits and juices, using traditional Chinese inks and styles of painting. For Mark Daniels it is the characters of the far north café set, and for Jonathan McBurnie it is the architecture of frontier pubs that speak of “life in the north”.
In contrast, Caroline Mudge represents iconic scenes through a retro lens of reductive pastel colours, while Brontë Naylor focuses on some of the grittier yet endearing aspects of Cairns, and for Olivia Azzopardi it is the unique biodiversity of the region that she has sought to capture in her fine ink drawings.
Destination North presents the creative underside of one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations.
Image: Harry BATE, Banana Bender 2018, gouache and pen on paper, 76 x 56cm. Courtesy of the artist