Art and Design festival says Welcome to the Party

·2-min read

Artist Bonnie Hislop says her clay vessels have a message of "cute fun feminism".

Her large candy-coloured pieces are emblazoned with slogans reading, Welcome to the Party, I Feel Pretty and A Bit Much.

"On the surface level they seem sweet and saccharine, but they offer a deeper meaning if the viewer wishes to look," Hislop told AAP.

The three works feature in Clay: Collected Ceramics at the Museum of Brisbane, a centrepiece of the Brisbane Art Design Festival.

The exhibition opens with pieces contributed by hundreds of potters from the Brisbane community, the result of a massive call out.

Then comes a tribute to the heritage of Australian ceramics, with modernist works by the likes of Milton Moon and Carl McConnell.

"I think most people have grown up with brown ceramics... when you say the word pot in Australia, it connotes brown," curator Sarah Engledow told AAP.

But rounding the corner, pieces by contemporary artists are a riot of colour, thanks to the development of many more types of synthetic glaze.

There are angular pieces from Steph Woods, and the formal, structural works of Nicolette Johnson and Kenji Uranishi.

From Yeerongpilly artist Jane duRand are some fascinating sculptures inspired by the health of the region's wildlife - including Brisbane's bush turkey.

"This is the most magnificent and unexpected tribute to the most hideous bird," Engledow said.

If the bush turkey can be elevated to the status of art, then the Brisbane Art Design festival can also induce Brisbanites to cross the river.

That's no small feat, according to Museum of Brisbane acting chief executive Cathy de Silva, and the key is to cluster events into neighbourhoods.

"I think when you reduce the risk and reduce the boundaries, people are much more likely to investigate and discover," she said.

The 2023 theme is Culture Community Clay, with more than 150 events to invite people to explore the city's creative scene.

Program highlights include a weekend of arts events north of the river, followed by a fashion parade and open studio weekend southside.

AAP travelled with the assistance of the Brisbane Art Design Festival, which runs until May 28.

Clay: Collected Ceramics runs from Saturday until October 22.