The Dancers, Melbourne Street

An Expo is a global event that aims at educating the public, promoting progress and fostering cooperation. It is the world’s largest meeting place, bringing together countries, the private sector, the civil society and the general public around interactive exhibitions, live shows, workshops, conferences and much more.

Bureau International des Expositions

I always wondered what exactly “Expo 88” was. It was the event that transformed South Bank from an industrial area to the thriving parkland and commerce area it is today. From April to October 1988, over 15 million visitors traveled to Brisbane to visit Expo, which included “pavilions, laser displays, fireworks, parades, concerts, the Aquacade, water skiing show, a monorail and much more”.

I was in West End the other day and happened upon these two dancers, part of a 30 year anniversary of Expo 88.

Two figures dancing in South Brisbane, next to Stefan's building.

They’re re-cast from the original fibreglass sculptires, and have a somewhat uncanny appearance. They remind me of weeping angels with those soulless eyes, but when I visited someone had dressed them up with rather fetching beads.

Close-up of the male danxer. The statue is completely white, it's a very rough texture, the eyes are empty and white.

The Human Factor series was created by Brisbane’s Artbusters in the late 1980s. The first iterations of this iconic series were installed throughout the World Expo ’88 site. The figures seen here today have been re-imaged and re-cast for the 30th anniversary of World Expo ’80, giving residents and visitors a sense of the celebration that World Expo ’88 was.

Many believe that World Expo ’88 was Brisbane’s coming of age, as the city experienced different cultures, food, lifestyle and entertainment.

The number of visits over the six months exceeded 15.7 million. On 30 October 1988, the song ‘The Carnival is Over’ was performed by the Seekers at the closing ceremony and was considered and appropriate end to Brisbane’s biggest party.

Artbusters The Human Factor series – The Dancers 2018

Two years ago on the 30th anniversary of Expo 88, Brisbane City Council set up a self-guided World Expo ’88 Public Art Trail of Expo related artworks and artefacts. There are currently 31 pieces around the city.

You can check out more about the art trail on the Brisbane Council website. I’m curious to explore more in future.

A newsstand next to the artwork reads "Come to Queensland and see the world, World Expo 88. Enquire here for tickets. Together we'll show the world."