Qantas has unveiled a new Boeing 737-800 in Seattle featuring a striking ingenious art livery as a flying tribute to the world’s oldest continuing culture.It is the fourth aircraft in Qantas’ flying art series in partnership with Australian designers Balarinji that began with the first Indigenous livery “Wunala Dreaming” on a 747 aircraft in 1994.Balarinji’s livery design is inspired by the work of late West Australian Aboriginal painter, Paddy Bedford.The livery is an interpretation of the 2005 painting “Medicine Pocket” which captures the essence of Mendoowoorrji, Paddy Bedford’s mother country in the East Kimberly region of Western Australia.It is joint initiative between the airline, the family and estate of Paddy Bedford, Australian Indigenous design studio Balarinji and the National Gallery of Australia. The Balarinji Design Studio has collaborated on the design of all four flying art designs.Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said “as Australia’s national carrier we will fly this livery with great pride. It not only reflects our rich history as a country, it highlights the opportunities we have to promote our indigenous culture to the Australian public and international customers.”Newly announced Qantas Ambassador Indigenous AFL player Adam Goodes took part in the delivery.“I am honoured to be standing alongside this aircraft in all its glory today It represents our people and our culture and it is only fitting that Qantas as the Spirit of Australia is using this aircraft to showcase over 60,000 years of Aboriginal art and culture.”Balarinji’s Managing Director, Ros Moriarty, lauded Qantas for its commitment to reconciliation.“In our studio’s 30th year, it is a privilege to once again work with Qantas on an iconic Indigenous art aircraft. We applaud Qantas for the leadership in supplier diversity and reconciliation.”Mendoowoorrji is the airline’s 69th 737-800.Mr Bedford died in July 2007, aged 85, and was hailed as one of Australia’s coolest painters, although only ten years into a spectacular career.He found worldwide acclaim with his innovative approach to the “Turkey Creek” style of plain ochre and sparse lines pioneered by artistic luminaries Rover Thomas and Queenie McKenzie.Mr Bedford however did not start painting for exhibition until he was well into his 70s when a Melbourne art dealer stumbled across a collection of his discarded paintings bound for the local tip at Turkey Creek.Deeply grounded in traditional lore and ceremonial practice as a senior Gija elder of Jawalyi skin, Mr Bedford enjoyed his rare ventures into the “whitefella art world” where he was feted by curators, buyers and other admirers.However in the city he cut a fine figure with his elegant silver-tipped cane, stockman’s hat and Armani suit he loved to wear to special occasions.Former Art Gallery of WA Director Alan Dodge commented to The West Australian’s Arts Editor Steve Bevis on Mr Bedford’s passing that “he was real character.”“He was also one of the greatest indigenous artists of our time and a lot of people loved him personally. He had a wonderful sense of humour and was a very warm person.Mr Bedford’s humour and warmth was to the fore despite an upbringing that would break most.After spending his childhood at Bedford Downs, Bedford was incorrectly diagnosed with leprosy just before World War II and sent to the leprosarium in Derby where he met and married Emily Watson.They had one daughter, Cathy, who was taken away, along with Theresa, a second daughter from another relationship, and raised in the mission at Beagle Bay.Returning to Bedford Downs in the 1950s, he worked for many years as a stockman for rations of flour, tea and tobacco until he was forced to leave in the mass evictions in the early 1970s after the introduction of legislated equal wages.He later worked for Main Roads shifting rocks on the Gibb River Road before a back injury forced him on to welfare and retirement at the Warmun Aboriginal community at Turkey Creek.It was there Mr Bedford took up painting.