The Art of the Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law

Public art often evokes bronze men astride galloping horses or intimidating Third Reich eagles staring down on the diminished citizens below. Not only has the approach to commissioning public architecture shifted significantly from the last century but so too has the commissioning of public art. As one of the state’s most important expressions of democracy, the new QEII Courts of Law seeks to express its public transparency in the built form. Like the building itself, the public artworks articulate democratic values in their public expression of different perspectives. It is this inherent link between democratic values and artistic expression in the public realm that forms the focus of the curatorial rationale for the new Courts’ artworks. To shed light on the context of the new commissions, recent public art practices in Queensland and the discourse linking democracy and public art will be traced before culminating in a more specific discussion of the artworks themselves.