Venture into the woods with ‘Fairy Tales’ at GOMA this summer
Exploring centuries of beloved folk stories through art, design and film.

Once upon a time, there was a coven of powerful witches, an army of magical beasts, and a parade of spirited princesses.

All of whom lived in an enchanted augmented reality, nestled at the entrance of a vibrant creative precinct on the southern banks of the Brisbane River…

Don’t recall that one?

Perhaps not, but brace yourself to dive into a labyrinth of magic and mystery at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) this summer. The esteemed institution is set to morph its entire ground level into an intriguing forest for its marquee exhibition, aptly named "Fairy Tales."

This unexpected and immersive display, swirling with themes of metamorphosis, power, and love, is enchantingly narrated through the eyes of modern-day artists, designers, and filmmakers – names like Del Kathryn Barton, Patricia Piccinini, Kiki Smith, Abdul Abdullah, and Henrique Oliviera.

This Queensland-exclusive exhibition boasts a mesmerising array of lavish carriages, stately gowns, arcane mirrors, and nefarious witches. Over 100 artworks, spanning sculpture, installation, painting, photography, printmaking, papercuts, animation, video art, film, props, costumes, and augmented reality, are showcased. It's a trail of visual breadcrumbs that seemingly never ends.

Amanda Slack-Smith, the exhibition's curator and Curatorial Manager of QAGOMA’s Australian Cinémathèque, commented, “The exhibition delves into enchantment, boundaries, and transformation. It underscores themes intrinsic to fairy tales: power dynamics, injustice, the ravages of time, gender narratives, otherness, and the enduring spirit in challenging times.”

Strategically segmented into four distinct “chapters”, attendees are in for surprises, delight, and a rejuvenation of their childlike awe.

The opening chapter, ‘Into the Woods’, dramatically unfurls the unpredictability and peril of fairy tales, highlighted by a fresh creation from Brazilian sculptor Henrique Oliviera. His masterpiece, Corupira 2023, engulfs visitors in an abstract forest crafted from tree remnants, plywood, and reclaimed timber.

The subsequent chapter, ‘Through the Looking Glass’, promises to ignite your senses with its ethereal gardens brimming with pirouetting mushrooms and levitating homes. It also houses a jaw-dropping installation by Australian maestro Patricia Piccinini, named Enchanted Field 2023, which stars an eerie umbrella of 3,000 genetically altered flowers.

The concluding chapter, ‘Ever After’, pays tribute to the diverse portrayal of love and bonds in beloved tales like ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Snow White’.

For those eager to embark on this enchanting journey, tickets and further details about "Fairy Tales" are accessible at

Maria Ugrinovski

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Venture into the woods with ‘Fairy Tales’ at GOMA this summer