A 301 metre canvas of indigenous art began making its way across Queensland last week as the second Indigenous art Tilt Train leaves Roma Street Station for Cairns.
Arts Minister Rachel Nolan said the Tilt Train had been transformed by Lockhart River artist Josiah Omeenyo on one side and by 24 artists from the Cardwell and Tully regions on the other.
“In May this year I launched the first Indigenous art Tilt Train, delivered in partnership by Queensland Rail Travel and Arts Queensland,” Ms Nolan said.
“It was truly awe-inspiring to see such a unique piece of public art pull into the station and I am sure passengers and onlookers across the state have enjoyed it just as much.
“This magnificent artwork that we have unveiled today is just as striking and I know it will very quickly become a sought-after travel experience for both Queenslanders and visitors to our state.”
Ms Nolan said the 24 artists from Tully and Cardwell, represented by Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre, were particularly excited about the Tilt Train after dealing with the continuing emotional and economic heartache in the wake of Cyclone Yasi.
“The close-knit communities of Cardwell and Tully bore the brunt of Cyclone Yasi and the artists and arts workers from this region experienced damage to their homes, businesses and towns,” she said.
“I visited the Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre earlier this year and the artists personally told me how much this project had meant to them in moving forward. It has given them something to be excited about and look forward to.”
Transport Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Indigenous artwork had enhanced the iconic nature of the journey along Queensland’s coast.
“When this moving canvas travels through regional Queensland, people stop and watch it; it is a talking point and people know they are seeing something special,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Overseas visitors take photos of this iconic train, sending their images around the world and celebrating this unique slice of Queensland.
“With this service Queensland Rail Travel will also see a return to three return Tilt Train services a week between Brisbane and Cairns; and what a spectacular way to do it.
“This is just the next step in the future growth of Queensland Rail Travel, and with it, Queensland’s regional tourism destinations.
“We’ve already committed to buy another Tilt Train to begin services in 2014 and to upgrade our existing fleet, giving people one of the world’s best rail experiences.
“Our new trains will include first class suites, with personal ensuites as well as flat sleeper seats, similar to international airline Business Class.
“They will feature more comfortable carriages, better entertainment systems and improved disability access.”
Josiah’s artwork represents the stunning coastline of his home on Cape York, while the artwork from Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre revealed contemporary interpretations of ancient arts and cultural practices, including traditional wooden fire-starters re-imagined as bold ceramics, boomerangs painted to reflect current affairs and baskets made from lawyer cane.
The State Government has invested $750 000 in the Indigenous art Tilt Trains through art+place Queensland Public Art Fund. The project has been jointly delivered by Arts Queensland and Queensland Rail Travel.