The Pulse of Our Ancient Land

‘The Pulse of Our Ancient Land’ connects people with the land that was here 60,000 years ago, encouraging travellers to feel the energy pulsating beneath them as they fly over and through sky country (Birrali-jaa). The artwork embodies the stories shared by a specially formed group of respected Elders of each of the language groups of South East Queensland, and depicts the lands of the Jugerra, Yuggera, Turrbal, Quandamooka, Nunnukal, Goenpul, Ngugi and Yugambeh people. Artist Jenna Lee engaged with Elders as they provided the core vision, entrusting her and Gilimbaa with their stories and transforming their knowledge into a contemporary interactive art installation. One hundred and ten state-of-the-art LED lights were shipped from Europe and a three-metre panel of glass came from Aboriginal community control organisation Warthrong Glass in Melbourne to create this modern interpretation of dreamtime art.

Embedded within the glass is an abstract geographical representation of Maiwar (the Brisbane River), Moreton Island, the Nerang River and the Noosa River, highlighting the flight path in and out of Brisbane. The blue and green watercolour layer connects each story to water and represents the colour and topography of the land. The bespoke light programming brings the stories to life, representing the underlying rhythm set by the Elders – the heartbeat that pulses through the land.

Video produced by Qantas.

Rhythm of Our Stories

‘Rhythm of Our Stories’ is a contemporary light and glass installation found in the Qantas Domestic Departures Lounge and a sister piece to
‘The Pulse of Our Ancient Lounge’. The artwork represents the teaching, learning and sharing of culture, keeping the fire of knowledge alive, beating a rhythm and strength for future generations. The light display was created by capturing a dance performed by the Ruska Family, with bloodlines descending from the Yuggera, Quandamooka and Yugembir peoples of South East Queensland. Footage of the family practicing their songlines together, passing knowledge from Uncle Bowungun (Eddie) down to his son and grandchildren is translated into a pulsating light display to show the traditional continuation of culture in the modern era.

The lights were strategically fitted to work with the dot and circular design that covers the length of the glass.  Larger circles represent our Elders with smaller circles sitting closely by to show children and grandchildren. White dots passing through the piece signify the knowledge and culture shared from Elders to the next generation as lights beat beneath symbolising knowledge pulsating outwards. The pattern on the glass depicts the land and the dancers strong, direct connection to Country. The colours of the artwork are inspired by the fire lit at the beginning of the ceremony, igniting their energy and bringing to life the vibrancy of culture.

Imagery layered into the artwork depicts the Country and location of the ceremony – the Kangaroo Point Cliffs of South East Queensland. This ancient location looks out across a present-day Brisbane highlighting the interplay and connection of time and generations.