A not-so-little flock of birds will be spreading a message of hope and joy when they land in Townsville this July as part of the Messengers of Townsville public art installation.

The captivating artwork will include six wcreated by internationally renowned visual artist Florentijn Hofman.

The larger-than-life sculptures will be arriving in Townsville for the North Australian Festival of Arts (NAFA) on 2 July and will be spread across iconic landmarks in Townsville until 11 July.

Townsville will be the first regional stop for the giant birds before they head off to Mackay Festival of Arts, Better In Blackall, and return to Brisbane Festival.

Townsville City Council Community and Cultural Development Committee chairperson Ann-Maree Greaney said it was exciting to have Townsville be the first landing spot outside of Brisbane for this flock of sculptures.

“NAFA is an award-winning festival that shines a spotlight on local artists as well as artists from further afield. Messengers of Townsville will encapsulate the spirit of NAFA, spreading hope and joy across the city,” Cr Greaney said.

“I’m looking forward to having one of these incredible sculptures on top of buildings throughout, and to hear everyone’s reactions when they see the Gouldian finches land across the city.”

The artwork will travel more than 3300km on its six-week tour of Queensland.

The work made its world premiere at Brisbane Festival in 2020 when Brisbane Festival Artistic Director Louise Bezzina commissioned the colourful Messengers of Brisbane installation as a beacon of hope for the city following an extended COVID-19 lockdown.

“These giant Gouldian finches are glorious visual reminders to look up and smile, to experience a moment of joy and to celebrate,” Ms Bezzina said.

“The Messengers will not only inspire and invigorate regional communities but will help bring local and interstate visitors to regions that are emerging from the interruptions of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.

“I am delighted at the incredible support and assistance that Tourism and Events Queensland, Mackay Regional Council, Blackall-Tambo Regional Council and Townsville City Council have given to help us tour this magnificent and joyous public artwork.

“Fittingly, the Messengers will wrap up their regional tour just before Brisbane Festival returns from 3 – 25 September 2021.”

Based in The Netherlands, Mr Hofman worked with Brisbane’s UAP (Urban Art Projects) to bring his concept and designs to life for the major commission.

“This work breathes hope for better days. It symbolises celebrating life and being positive… especially during this period,” Hofman said.

This project is an original commission by Brisbane Festival, supported through the Giving Program by Tim Fairfax AC and Gina Fairfax.

The Queensland Government, through Arts Queensland and Tourism and Events Queensland, is proud to support Brisbane Festival and the Messengers regional tour. The Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland’s Destination Events Program, is also proud to support the North Australian Festival of Arts, which features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.