One of the new Qantas Dreamliners is covering in a painting by one of Australia’s most famous Indigenous artists

The Qantas Dreamliner with livery based on a painting by the late Aboriginal artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye. Qantas

Aboriginal artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye is one of Australia’s acclaimed painters.

One of her works Earth’s Creation 1, painted in 1994, set a new record for a work by an Australian female painter went it sold at auction last year for $2.1 million.

Born in 1910, Kngwarreye (pron. Nung-war-ray) worked as a stock hand on her ancestral lands around Utopia, near Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, and only turned to painting in her late 70s, yet transformed Aboriginal art with an abstract quality that made her one of Australia’s most revered significant artists.

The late Utopia artist, who died in 1996, now features on a new canvas – one of Qantas’ new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

The plane’s livery is based on her 1991 painting, Yam Dreaming, a work on show at the Campbelltown Arts Centre, west of Sydney.


Five Qantas aircraft have been painted in Indigenous designs as a gesture of reconciliation. The Dreamliner is the second in the Flying Art series currently in service alongside a B737-800, named Mendoowoorrji, and will be the only one on international service.

The airline has worked with Indigenous-owned design studio Balarinji for more than two decades on aircraft livery projects and a team of 60 designers, engineers and painters at Boeing’s Seattle facility worked with Balarinji for more than 10 days to complete the project.

There are close to 5000 dots on the aircraft, which touched down in Alice Springs yesterday, direct from Seattle, watched by members of Kngwarreye’s family,

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce welcomed the airline’s fourth Dreamliner to Australia.

“It is a privilege to welcome home this special aircraft together with Emily’s family, close to her home Country. We’re thrilled to showcase her striking artwork on our newest Dreamliner,” he said.

“As the aircraft enters our international fleet, we believe this Dreamliner, through colour and image, will tell a story of our unique Australian landscape and, by sharing our Indigenous culture with the world, the
important story of reconciliation.”

It will fly several domestic services for crew familiarisation before entering international service in late March.