Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware this article contains images, names and descriptions of deceased persons. This article also contains artworks created by people who are now deceased.
The collection draws from artworks of three renowned Aboriginal artists and elders – Maureen Hudson Nampijinpa, Gordon Lansden Milyindirri and Isaiah Nagurrgurrba – and adds more than 100 new Indigenous design elements to the permanent Canva Pro content library, with royalties going directly back to the artists when their elements are used.
Canva has also created 40 new templates featuring these Balarinji design elements designed for use in posters, social media posts, presentations, videos and beyond, to empower Canva users with meaningful Indigenous content when designing NAIDOC Week materials, and for use year-round.
Through its work, Balarinji partners with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge holders, artists, and other creative practitioners, particularly those with connections to Dreaming (the spiritual dimension of Aboriginal knowing), to increase recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, design and art. Not only does this work bring Australia’s foundational narrative into the community and mainstream, it also grows artist recognition and helps close the divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous creators.
Ros Moriarty, Balarinji Managing Director and Creative Executive, said, “To see Aboriginal art, stories and design celebrated on the world’s largest design platform is momentous.”
“When we started Balarinji 40 years ago, the interest in Indigenous design was non-existent. But today there is a growing global consciousness and desire to celebrate and explore Indigenous culture. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were the world’s first storytellers, artists, scientists and designers. This Canva x Balarinji collection of Indigenous elements and templates allows us all to share the beauty and rich cultural narrative of three incredible Aboriginal artists,” she said.
Ngunnawal man Johnny Bridges, Balarinji Indigenous Creative Lead, said, “This is a pivotal moment for celebrating Indigenous culture through design. Balarinji creates impactful change for a shared Australian identity through design excellence. This collaboration is a great example of what we strive for.”
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imagery, story, philosophy, intellectual framing, and language are incredible sources of inspiration, representing both an opportunity and a responsibility.”
“This collection has been created with careful consideration to ensure the cultural integrity of the artists’ work while also providing a rich, versatile and beautiful collection of design elements that celebrate the continuing stories of the world’s longest surviving culture,” he added.
Silvia Oviedo, Head of Content and Discovery at Canva, said, “Canva is continuously on a learning journey of how we can drive positive change, grow cultural appreciation, and be a force for good as we help build a more inclusive world.”
“We’re proud to have partnered with Balarinji, an organisation that has spent 40 years on a mission to contribute to an authentic national identity by deepening the understanding of Aboriginal Australia. Our partnership with Balarinji provides us with an opportunity to champion diversity while connecting artists using traditional media to our digital, global community – in completely new ways,” Oviedo added.
Indigenous artworks and stories have many sacred meanings and should only be shared in certain contexts. There’s a responsibility to bring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to the centre of the co-design process and by representing the stories, meanings and philosophies correctly, the outcomes are immeasurably richer for everyone.
With each new Balarinji artist template, users will be provided with guidelines and design principles on usage to help them celebrate Indigenous culture in an appropriate and respectful way.
View the Balarinji x Canva Indigenous elements and templates.