The well-known Indigenous design studio, Balarinji, was inducted into the Design Institute of Australia (DIA) Hall of Fame recently in Sydney.
Balarinji founders Ros and John Moriarty, who are famously responsible for conceptualising Aboriginal artwork on Qantas aircraft, established the company over 30 years ago and have attracted international acclaim for their pioneering work in Indigenous design.
Managing Director of Balarinji, Ros Moriarty, considers the induction into the DIA Hall of Fame as a huge honour and a tribute to their teams of designers and staff as well as clients from the past 30 years.
Ms Moriarty says they started The Jumbana Group with the simple philosophy of connecting family and it matured into a celebration of the beauty of Aboriginal art and culture through contemporary Australian design. Not long after establishing the studio, they realised that their desire to surround their children with their special identity, reflected a wider search to define Australia’s unique personality. This became the focus of their business, to provide a visual signature for a young nation born of an ancient continent.
The studio has had the opportunity to raise awareness of the power of Australian design that has its origins deep in their own land.
Balarinji is a multi-awarded multidisciplinary practice across corporate identity, public art, retail brands, signage and wayfinding, interior thematic, web, art curatorial and interpretive programs for major national infrastructure projects.
Along with painting Aboriginal artwork on Qantas aircraft, Balarinji has been involved in many nation-building projects including design for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games stadium, posters for the historic Walk for Reconciliation across Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Australian Government Overseas Humanitarian Services Medal and the Centenary Medal, a fantasy tutu for the Australian Ballet’s 40th birthday and the longest running uniform textile in the history of Qantas.
The company’s collections are held in the National Museum of Australia, the National Gallery of Australia, Flinders University Art Museum, Powerhouse Museum, Centre of Contemporary Graphic Design in Fukuoka, Japan and Vatican Museum in Rome.
Balarinji’s latest project was the design and delivery of the public art and interpretive elements program for the $40 million Jezzine Barracks redevelopment in Townsville developed in collaboration with more than 20 Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists covering Indigenous, military and historical themes.
In 2012, Ros and John Moriarty launched their not-for-profit initiative, the Nangala Project, a grassroots venture with children and families in the remote Aboriginal town of Borroloola, Northern Territory. The Nangala Project is a successful pilot project in early literacy and football, which aims to help Indigenous bush communities overcome extreme disadvantages.