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NEWS Last modified on March 5, 2018

Art student wins commission for huge work of art at Brisbane Airport

Queensland College of Art (QCA) Master of Visual Art student, Michael Phillips, has won a commission to create an epic 90 metre work of art for Brisbane Airport. 

The huge floor to ceiling art work will be located in the expanded northern departures concourse of Brisbane Airport’s International Terminal. 

Believed to be the most lucrative student art prize ever offered in Australia, Brisbane Airport’s competition was open to QCA students across all disciplines, inviting applicants to submit concepts for the vast space exploring adventure, discovery, connection and flight.

More than 100 entries were received, with five finalists considered for the major prize. The four runners up each received A$5,000 prize money and the winner received $20,000. 


Airport operator, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) also covers the cost of the production of the art work.

Installation of Phillips’ work is the final element of the A$73 million project to add an extra 11,000 square metres of space, more boarding and dwell zones, plus four new aerobridges and four new walk out gates to the International Terminal.

This significant piece of public art will be seen by millions of travellers each year.

Julieanne Alroe, BAC'S CEO and Managing Director, says the idea behind the art prize was about encouraging local talent and providing a unique opportunity and space for artists to create a significant public work

“Brisbane Airport is home to one of Australia’s largest collections of public art and this commission is another chapter in our long-term commitment to the arts and supporting local artists,” enthuses Alroe.

BNE best
“The finalist entries were beyond our wildest expectations and a wonderful statement on the range, skill and ambition of our emerging artists. Michael’s entry will be a superb addition to BNE’s public art collection."

Phillips created his striking work in the QCA workshops at South Bank, making a series of wood block prints that were blown up and digitally printed onto vinyl panels.

The Master of Visual Art student reveals that the work was inspired by the idea of the airport as a melting pot of different cultures and languages.

“Airports are really vibrant places,” he says. “You get this incredible mix of people of all ages and cultural backgrounds.

“The work I created uses large scale shapes that echo human forms, and I also wanted it to look a little like its own language – a kind of indecipherable graffiti.”


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