Flying artist Merv Moriarty in the 1970s.
Flying artist Merv Moriarty in the 1970s. Contributed

Flying Artist's exhibition set to take off

AN EXHIBITION showcasing five decades of the Flying Artist Merv Moriarty's work is lifting off in Brisbane.

In 1971, a Queensland artist with a plane and a vision of bringing art to the bush and beyond founded The Flying Arts School. This year, Flying Arts celebrates its 45th year by paying homage to Moriarty (pictured) - renowned artist, teacher and founder of the organisation - with a special retrospective exhibition.

Colour: Mervyn Moriarty, A Retrospective Exhibition will be launched today at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts. The public program includes a curator talk and walk-through at 12.30pm, followed by an exclusive "In Conversation with Merv Moriarty" at 1.15pm.

Exhibition curator Sarah Barron had the immense task of researching, finding and bringing together these artworks.

During his time at the helm of Flying Arts from 1971 to 1983, Moriarty made more than 1250 trips, flew more than 400,000km, visited more than 25 different locations in remote and regional Queensland numerous times, and delivered 20,000 individual tutorials to local artists. From south-west Queensland to the Torres Strait Islands, some of the remote locations Moriarty flew to included Quilpie, Blackall, Mount Isa, Weipa and Thursday Island.

"It is now 45 years since I took off on the first flying art school flight with my just acquired pilot's licence. It seems extraordinary to me that with all the huge challenges Flying Arts has weathered and survived, and has now found itself in the best of hands," Moriarty said.

Since he founded the organisation, Flying Arts has made more than 7000 trips and travelled more than twomillion kilometres by land and air to deliver more than onemillion tutorials to artists across regional and remote Queensland.


Merv Moriarty.
Merv Moriarty. Contributed

"If I have been enamoured of colour in the past, I am in awe of it now. My current work is colour and landscape and comes straight out of where I now live, on the aptly named Sapphire Coast in NSW," Moriarty said.

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