First Nations art makes journey onto Queensland's Smart Ticketing

In a world first, Translink is featuring First Nations art on Queensland's public transport ticketing equipment and infrastructure.

Gold Coast customers are the first to see The Connecting Thread artwork featured on a tram and all new Smart Ticketing validators on G:link.

It is just one way Translink recognises and celebrates the uniqueness of Queensland and the rich contribution of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Queensland through the journeys many Queenslanders and visitors make through the state each day.

The design symbolises and reflects the landscapes of Queensland from top to bottom, exploring RainforestThe rainforest is a moist environment where it rains throughout much of the year. There are ground coverings and the trees reach tall for the sunlight, making dense canopies of vegetation and clean air on the land., BushThe bush landscape is full of trees and animal sounds. The bush can be both dense and open. The environment can be dry at times and can be burnt out to take care of the country., FreshwaterFresh water is found inland in lakes, streams, waterfalls and waterholes. You can sometimes hear the sounds of running water, insects, frogs and other native animals at freshwater places., SaltwaterSaltwater country lines the coast of Australia. It is where the sea meets the land, waves crash on the shore, sand blows in the wind, and the smell of saltwater hangs in the air., Desert CountryThe desert country is a dry environment, which is hot in the summer and cool in the winter. The landscape is sandy and rocky, with earthly tones of reds and oranges, covered by sweeping blue skies. and the pathways that connect CountryThe connecting country is the space between. Environments have changed over time with the development of cities and towns. The connecting country looks beyond these developments to the natural routes of the landscape connecting the countries around Queensland. and people.

The Connecting Thread artwork was developed by local Gilimbaa artist, Elisa Carmichael (Quandamooka), specifically for the Smart Ticketing project.

Unique to the Queensland landscape, its visual presence will transform local public transport infrastructure and inspire a sense of pride, culture, connection and curiosity in the stories it tells.

Uncover The Connecting Thread artwork story

We are travelling in the pathways of those who have gone before us. Many of the major highways, roads and waterways are travelling routes for the First Peoples of the land.

Over tens of thousands of years our ancestors' footprints have paved the way for the routes we travel today. This artwork honours the footprints of First Nations people; guiding the way for safe travel and caring for Country and the environment across Queensland.

One of the most important items for First Nations people is string. Threads of string support daily life activities and ceremonial gatherings. Strings are carried when travelling across Country. The strings are woven with grasses, rushes or hair. When one thread comes together and is woven with many, its strength is formed.

Placing the woven string elements over the patterns inspired by Country honours connection to Country and the significance of caring, working and living with the environment.

Meet the artist: Elisa Jane Carmichael

Gilimbaa artist, Elisa Carmichael (known to many as Leecee) created ‘The Connecting Thread’ artwork, for Translink. Elisa is a Ngugi woman from the Quandamooka People of Moreton Bay. She has pursued a creative career since completing her degree, and has exhibited internationally and presented her research at Oxford University. Her practice honours her cultural heritage by incorporating materials collected from Country, embracing traditional techniques and expressing contemporary adaptations, through the mediums of painting, weaving and textiles.

Gilimbaa is a full-service creative agency specialising in strategic and connected communication. The agency is driven by the power and process of storytelling and the role this plays in the education and celebration of culture and community

Learn more about Gilimbaa

About the project

Underpinned by the power of storytelling, Smart Ticketing brings a refreshed visual identity of the Translink brand to customers.

Inspired by the Cooktown orchid, the brand embodies Queensland's vibrant personality and the innovative technology solution Smart Ticketing is delivering for Queensland.

In upholding the spirit of vibrant innovation, Smart Ticketing set out to harness the social and cultural power of public art to transform very functional public transport ticketing equipment and infrastructure across Queensland into a vehicle for the maintenance, expression and transmission of our First Nations culture.

The Connecting Thread artwork is unique to our Queensland landscape and creates a striking visual presence and connection to Country for the Queensland community, inviting customers passing between places and returning home to join us as journey makers with Smart Ticketing.

The Connecting Thread artwork project is just one way Translink is contributing to the government's Reconciliation Action Plan in recognising and celebrating the uniqueness of Queensland and the integral role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Queensland in our community.

Unveiled on 20 July 2020, Gold Coast customers are the first to see The Connecting Thread artwork featured on G:link tram number 15 and across new Smart Ticketing equipment installed on G:link platforms.