Now, 27 years into its corporate life, Sydney-based Jumbana Group is a leading indigenous design and strategy company. Established by the Moriartys, Jumbana comprises the contemporary design studio, Balarinji, and an indigenous communications and facilitation practice, John Moriarty and Associates.
Working throughout Australia and internationally, Jumbana’s client list is a corporate Who’s Who, including Qantas, CSIRO, Austrade, Sydney Opera House and many others. Jumbana delivers graphic design, offering a full range of services from conception to production for corporate identity and branding, and public art. Darwin Airport is an example of its work.
Its community engagement activities are spearheaded by John Moriarty AM, a function that enables community building strategies and cultural programs.
A full member of the Yanyuwa people of his birthplace, Borroloola, in the Northern Territory, John Moriarty is a graduate of Flinders University and has held many positions, including chairman of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board, the Australia Council and deputy chairman of Indigenous Business Australia.
Tasmanian-born Ros Moriarty, managing director and creative director of Balarinji Studio, is a former member of the Council of the National Gallery of Australia and an inductee of the Australian Business Women’s Hall of Fame.
She says John’s community engagement is an important platform. “His ability to facilitate cross-cultural communications where people can undertake commercial conversations can lead to better outcomes, for example in engaging the indigenous workforce.”
When the two founded the company, Ros was in her late 20s and motivated by her children. “We wanted to celebrate our children’s birthright through silkscreens and the like,” she says.
“It had to be a sustainable, nuts-and-bolts business, but at its core it is Aboriginal culture. It is epitomised by the jumbo at one level. It’s an Aboriginal design on a fuselage, but it says something about how Australians feel about themselves. It helped establish some leadership in the field for us.”