Latest design in Qantas-Balarinji Flying Art Series takes flight

February 23, 2024

Copyright Agency’s visual arts licensing team joined Qantas, Balarinji Design Studio, Tjungu Palya Arts and senior Pitjantjatjara artist Maringka Baker in Uluru on 23 February to ceremoniously launch the latest design in the Qantas-Balarinji Flying Art Series.

At the end of 2023, Qantas unveiled the first of its new Airbus A220 aircrafts, featuring the artwork of Maringka Baker. The aircraft is named after the original artwork, Minyma Kutjara Tjukurpa (the creation story of the two sisters). Qantas’ full release can be found here.

Maringka Baker’s family performing Inma to welcome the new Qantas-Balarinji plane. Photo taken by Copyright Agency.

Copyright Agency worked collaboratively with Balarinji and Qantas in selecting Maringka’s work for the project, and then negotiated a fair licensing fee and ensured best practice agreements and protocols were put in place for the artist.

This is the second agreement overseen by Copyright Agency for the Flying Art Series, following the successful licensing of the Emily Kame Kngwarreye plane, announced in 2018.

Copyright Agency CEO, Josephine Johnston, says “We’re delighted to see the launch of Minyma Kutjara Tjukurpa, it’s another momentous achievement for everyone involved. We’re very proud to have overseen such an important part of the project’s development once again, ensuring that artists are expertly represented in such high-profile negotiations.”

The new A220 livery design celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and Qantas’ commitment to sustainability and reconciliation. Around 100 painters were involved in completing the livery, with the Airbus teams working with 130 stencils to replicate the detailed designs. It features more than 20,000 dots and is the most complex livery Airbus has ever completed for this aircraft type.

Maringka Baker, from Kanpi and now residing in Docker River, is represented by Tjungu Palya Arts. Her work can be found in collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Art Galley of South Australia, and the Parliament House Art Collection. Her painting style expresses a deep connection and knowledge of country, and her work has inspired a new generation of First Nations artists through her teaching and mentoring in the community.

Copyright Agency’s Visual Arts Licensing Manager, Belinda Layton, says “We’re grateful to all parties involved for their patience and collaboration. By developing a licensing agreement that is ethical, fair, and responsible, we can protect and celebrate Maringka Baker’s art and share it with new audiences for years to come.

Maringka’s family loved the idea that the big sister and little sister, depicted in Maringka’s artwork, travelling inland and finding their way together, will now look down from the sky at the beautiful Australian landscape on Qantas’ new A220.”

The team worked closely with Copyright Agency member, Tjungu Palya Arts, who represent the artist.

Ashleigh Tuck, Art Centre Manager says, “Tjungu Palya was thrilled to partner with Copyright Agency to realise Maringka Baker’s artwork on the new QantasLink A220. From managing the selection process of the work and negotiating fees, to developing the licencing agreements, the team at Copyright Agency was incredibly dedicated and professional, appropriately prioritising the cultural considerations entrusted to them by the artist and family. They kept us in the loop of every development in the process. This allowed Tjungu Palya to get on with the business of managing the art centre, as we knew we could trust Copyright Agency to manage the project through the development process.”

The aircraft will join the QantasLink fleet, initially operating flights between Melbourne and Canberra.

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