Jacarandas bloom in Purple Reign


‘Purple Reign’ is an immersive secret garden populated with images of jacarandas and interactive experiences by Australian artist Gary Carsley. ‘Purple Reign’ coincides with the jacarandas coming into bloom in Brisbane, and is one of a series of eight artist-led projects to be presented as part of ‘The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (APT9) until 28 April 2019.

Installation view of ‘Purple Reign’ / Photographs: Chloe Callistemon, © QAGOMA

Under the jacaranda

On display within ‘Purple Reign’ is the inspiration for the project, the iconic painting from the Gallery’s Collection, Under the jacaranda 1903 by Queensland artist R Godfrey Rivers. In the painting a couple enjoy afternoon tea while seated in Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens under a mature jacaranda tree in full, violet-coloured bloom.

Interesting Facts

R. Godfrey Rivers, England/Australia 1858-1925 / Under the jacaranda 1903 / Oil on canvas / Purchased 1903 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
R. Godfrey Rivers, England/Australia 1858-1925 / Under the jacaranda 1903 / Oil on canvas / Purchased 1903 / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

Purple Reign

As hinted by its title, ‘Purple Reign’ encourages us to reflect on the jacaranda’s presence and influence, which has spread far and wide since it was first introduced to Australia in 1864. Originally from South America, this once exotic species is now a much beloved feature of our landscape, with its lilac blooms annually carpeting Australia’s eastern coastline.

‘Purple Reign’ is a ‘secret garden’ brimming with images of the iconic jacaranda. The photographs of jacaranda trees installed floor-to-ceiling in the installation have been taken by Carsley in Australia and as far afield as Chile, Vietnam, India and South Africa, creating a composite landscape of trees from throughout the colonised world.

Re-enact the scene from Under the jacaranda in a stage-like tableau positioned opposite the painting — a perfect location for a selfie. By taking a picture and posting it online, contribute to a new kind of propagation of the jacaranda, while also acknowledging and reshaping its history. Also within the space, a touchscreen activity invites you to interact with six animal species that have become extinct due to changes in their habitats.


APT9 Kids encourages young visitors and their families to creatively engage with contemporary artists’ ideas through special interactive projects from Iraq (Sadik Kwaish Alfraji), the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (Pauline Kimei Anis), the Philippines (Nona Garcia), Thailand (Jakkai Siributr), Taipei (Joyce Ho), New Zealand (Jeff Smith) and Australia (Vincent Namatjira and Gary Carsley).

Read more on APT9 / Subscribe to YouTube for behind-the-scenes video

APT9 publication

APT9 Kids is proudly supported by Principal Benefactor the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.

APT9 has been assisted by our Founding Supporter Queensland Government and Principal Partner the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

Feature image detail: Gary Carsley, Australia b.1957 / Under the Jacaranda – Purple Reign (artist render for photogenia) 2018 / Lambda unique state print mounted to 3mm dibond panel, double-sided sublimation print on laser-cut fabric, with IKEA Gilbert chair and Frosta stools; maquette construction and pelmet design by Renjie Teoh / Courtesy: TORCH, Amsterdam, and Thatcher Projects, New York / Commissioned for APT9 Kids with support from the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation / © The artist