Maiawali-Karuwali-Pitta Pitta-Gomeroi artist Dylan Bolger was at work on his Brisbane Street Art Festival (BSAF) mural in Albert Street on weekends throughout May.


The work features the Macaranga plant, a motif Dylan often returns to in his art. 


“It is of old-world genesis and is considered a re-coloniser or pioneer plant, meaning that after devastation, it will be one of the first plants to grow back and breathe new life into space,” Dylan told me.


“The concept of the leaf represents my people and culture being of ‘old world genesis’ as we grow back through the devastation of colonialism.” 

Dylan Bolger, getting started.

Dylan believes Aboriginal art can rely on something other than traditional forms and themes.


“The way I like to approach Indigenous art is a bit different to what most people think about. It’s not another dot painting because that [art form] comes from a very specific part of Australia and talks to very specific elements and stories that I don’t have the right to talk about. This is my approach; the way that I like to think about Indigenous art, is as an Aboriginal person telling an Aboriginal story, therefore, it’s Aboriginal art.”


As part of his work in the BSAF, a group of students from the Music Industry College in Fortitude Valley joined Dylan at the site for a workshop.


“Every public work I’ve done so far, including the one in Musgrave Park, has included students as a part of the process. It’s important because public work is not necessarily about me; it’s for the public, and getting others involved with it gives it an extra layer of meaning.” 


Dylan’s artwork, along with other work for the BSAF, is painted on a temporary hoarding around the construction site for Cross River Rail. Street art is often completed on more permanent structures but is always somewhat ephemeral because it is vulnerable to being painted over or altered. Dylan has a unique take on how his and other BSAF works can be preserved.


“I work in architecture, and I knew that the hoarding would come down, so I’ve asked if I could keep it. I will ask every other artist if I can have their work to preserve as part of my exhibition. … I’m hoping to cut them up and turn them into stalls.



The finished work, Albert Street, Brisbane.

Dylan says his cultural work sits beside his professional experience as an Architectural Technician.

“I have several years’ experience in the architectural industry covering a range of project types, though more recently, main focus has been large scale health projects,” Dylan says in his BSAF bio.

This year, Dylan participated in an eight-week residency at the Aboriginal Art Co in South Brisbane. The residency was part of The Safe Space Artist Residency Program, funded by Brisbane City Council through the Lord Mayor’s Creative Fellowships and culminated in an exhibition of his work in April – Leaf SZN.


“Keratoconus Leaf” 2023 by Dylan Bolger, Fish Lane, South Brisbane.

Dylan was recently selected as a finalist in the Churchie Emerging Artists Awards for 2023. The exhibition opening and prize announcement will be on Friday 2 June, and work by the selected artists is on view from 27 May–19 August 2023 at Institute of Modern Art, Judith Wright Arts Centre in Brunswick Street Fortitude Valley.

You can see other work by Dylan Bolger at Musgrave Park in South Brisbane, QUT’s Kelvin Grove campus, and at Fish Lane in South Brisbane.

The Brisbane Street Art Festival

The Brisbane Street Art Festival wrapped up on 21 May. See images from all artists HERE.


All images by Jan Bowman