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Emily Kame Kngwarreye Dreamliner wins Gold in Sydney Design Awards

Updated: Nov 20, 2019

The Balarinji-Qantas Emily Kame Kngwarreye 787-9 Dreamliner has been recognised for its design excellence in celebrating Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island art and culture and has been awarded Gold in the Graphic Design - Identity and Branding category of the 2019 Sydney Design Awards.

Qantas commissioned Balarinji to create the design for the Dreamliner. Based on the late Anmatyerre artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye's 1991 painting ‘Yam Dreaming’, the aircraft celebrates Qantas’ commitment to reconciliation and the promotion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, art and economic development. “Emily” flew the 2018 inaugural QF9 Perth to London direct.

Balarinji-Qantas Emily Kame Kngwarreye Dreamliner arrives in Alice Springs

'Yam Dreaming' artwork by Emily Kame Kngwarreye

Balarinji Chairman John Moriarty said, “The award win was announced on 5 September, almost 25 years to the day when the first Balarinji-Qantas Flying Art aircraft, Wunala Dreaming, was launched.”


Balarinji Managing Director Ros Moriarty said, “When we first pitched the Flying Art idea to Qantas in the early 1990s, Aboriginal design was scarcely used in any corporate setting, let alone on a 700 square metre canvas that would fly above millions of people each day. It is a partnership we have been honoured to share with Qantas, and a unique design journey for Balarinji.”


The Emily Kame Kngwarreye Dreamliner is the fifth aircraft in the Balarinji-Qantas Flying Art Series, which includes:


- Qantas Dreamliner Emily Kame Kngwarreye - Boeing 787-9 (2018)

- Mendoowoorrji - Boeing 737-800 (2013)

- Yananyi Dreaming - Boeing 737-300 (2002)

- Nalanji Dreaming - Boeing 747-338 (1995)

- Wunala Dreaming - Boeing 747-400 (1994)

Nalanji Dreaming and Wunala Dreaming

Balarinji created the “Emily” fuselage design, then worked with Qantas Engineering, Boeing and Teague to prepare 2D and 3D renders of the layout with its 5,000 individual dots and unique lines and motifs from the original ‘Yam Dreaming’ painting. A team of more than 60 graphic designers, engineers and painters at Boeing’s Seattle facility, worked with Balarinji to prepare and stencil the design onto the aircraft.


The application methodology for the Emily Kame Kngwarreye Dreamliner was a world first. The design used materials and processes in a new way to achieve the original artwork’s tonally transitioned background through a hand-spray paint application of quick drying aviation expandable medium.


The aircraft brought the world’s attention once again to one of Australia’s most important late 20th century artists.


Ms Moriarty added, “The Emily Kame Kngwarreye Dreamliner celebrates Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture on the global stage in a very public way. It also gives Emily Kame Kngwarreye’s family and community recognition and the opportunity to share the artist’s acclaimed work with a wider, more global audience. The aircraft is a powerful statement of reconciliation and Australian inclusivity.”


The DrivenxDesign Sydney Design Awards Graphic Design - Identity and Branding award celebrates creative and innovative design in the traditional or digital visual representation of ideas and messages. The awards will be presented at a gala dinner on 22 October 2019.



John and Ros Moriarty accepting the Gold Trophy at the Sydney Design Awards gala event

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