Emi­ly Floyd: Man­grove Poem

A new pub­lic work for Man­grove Walk, Queen’s Wharf, Brisbane

Emi­ly Floy­d’s Man­grove Poem (2018) is a text based, pub­lic instal­la­tion locat­ed along the Man­grove Walk at Queen’s Wharf, Bris­bane. The work is inspired by the poem Five Sens­es by Judith Wright (1915 – 2000), a renowned Aus­tralian poet and envi­ron­men­tal­ist, and con­tin­ues Floy­d’s long-term prac­tice of trans­form­ing lit­er­ary forms into spaces of dis­cov­ery and enquiry. Floyd’s project con­ceives of the Man­grove Walk as a place of civic opti­mism and shel­ter, where ideas and ecol­o­gy are illuminated.

Wright (1915 – 2000) lived on Mt Tam­borine from the late 1940s until the ear­ly 1970s, and fre­quent­ly vis­it­ed Cooloola on the Sun­shine Coast. Out of her close obser­va­tion of and love for the nat­ur­al envi­ron­ment of South­east Queens­land, she came to see the human role as a new oblig­a­tion for the con­tin­ued exis­tence of the earth and its doings and beings’. For Wright, the val­ue of the land­scape is no longer mere­ly aes­thet­ic, recre­ation­al or restora­tive (Mack­ay, 2005). In 1980, Wright edit­ed the Wildlife Preser­va­tion Soci­ety of Queens­land pub­li­ca­tion Reef, Rain­for­est, Man­groves, Man’ and in keep­ing with this project her eco­log­i­cal vision encom­passed the Asia Pacif­ic region. 

In Man­grove Poem, Floyd has abstract­ed the words ALL SHAPE to cre­ate a colour­ful and bold graph­ic land­scape that can be enjoyed by every­one who walks along the Man­grove Walk­way. Floyd select­ed Wright’s words for their deep con­nec­tion to the Aus­tralian envi­ron­ment. Vis­i­tors to the Man­grove Walk are greet­ed with a Sacred King­fish­er (2018), perched on colour­ful abstract­ed let­ter seat­ing ele­ment. The King­fish­er, whose habi­tat includes the man­groves and forests of South East Queens­land encour­ages fur­ther explo­ration along the walk­way. The Five Sens­es poem tran­scribes themes of ecol­o­gy and vibrant mat­ter; a dif­fer­ent kind of civic mon­u­ment, rel­e­vant to the chal­lenges of our time. 

Emi­ly Floyd acknowl­edges and pays respect to the Tra­di­tion­al Own­ers and Elders, past, present, and emerg­ing of the lands and waters on which Man­grove Walk­way stands, acknowl­edg­ing Abo­rig­i­nal con­nec­tion to mate­r­i­al and cre­ative prac­tice on these lands for more than 60,000 years, and their endur­ing pres­ence and knowledge.

Five Sens­es, from Judith Wright’s Col­lect­ed Poems, has been repro­duced with the per­mis­sion of Harper­Collins Aus­tralia and the Estate of Judith Wright. Man­grove Poem is curat­ed by Natasha Smith @natashajsmith and pro­duced by @uapcompany.

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