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Qantas unveils latest aircraft from Indigenous design studio Balarinji

David Prestipino -

National carrier Qantas has unveiled the sixth Indigenous-designed aircraft in its Qantas-Balarinji Flying Art Series.

The new A220 livery from Australia's foremost Indigenous design studio Balarinji features the artwork of renowned Pitjantjatjara artist Maringka Baker - Minyma Kutjara Tjukurpa - that tells the creation story of the Two Sisters.

"The design is a powerful example of how we can influence how we think about ourselves as Australians, and how we can experience the strength, integrity and beauty of First Nations culture through best practice collaboration with artists and communities," Qantas said in a statement.

The new aircraft design comes in the year Balarinji celebrates 40 years as a trailblazer in Australia's Indigenous design sector, which also coincides with its 40-year partnership with Qantas.

Their alliance also began in 1983, when Qantas sold Balarinji's Aboriginal-themed silk and superfine wool scarves on board.

The partnership has since evolved, with Balarinji designs featured on six Qantas aircraft, while they were engaged with the airline's first Reconciliation Action Plan and its long-running uniform textile, Wirriyarra.

Wirriyarra, or 'My Spirit Home' in Yanyuwa, was a conception inspired by Balarinji co-founder John Moriarty's hometown of Borroloola in the NT.

The A220 Minyma Kutjara Tjukurpa aircraft design tells the story of two sisters travelling back to their home. The younger sister has been lost for a long time in the south, and her big sister leads her north across vast distances.

Comforting her younger sister, the older sister teaches her about the Country they travel through. They stop on the way to perform Inma (sacred singing and dancing).

Balarinji created the fuselage design for Minyma Kutjara Tjukurpa and the aircraft was painted by Airbus in Mirabel, Canada, taking more than two weeks to complete last month.

It features more than 20,000 dots, the largest quantity of pixels Airbus has ever painted onto an aircraft.

In August Qantas flew the flag for the Yes campaign, decorating three of its planes in support of the constitutional change and funding the travel of campaign members.

At the time, former Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the branding reflected the airline's longstanding commitment to reconciliation.


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