When the Australian athletes enter Carrara Stadium for the Games opening ceremony, they will be decked out in the traditional green and gold. However, the athletes’ formal wear has been given a distinctive twist, with Jenna’s unique print emblazoned on the ties, scarves, belts and blazers.
A proud Larrakia woman, whose family hail from the Northern Territory, Jenna’s work celebrates her diverse heritage.
“My Mum is Caucasian, and my Dad is a mix of Larrakia, Chinese and Japanese – I think that has all shaped my work,” she said.
“I had a very culturally rich upbringing – a lot of my aunties and uncles are artists, and there was always heaps of Aboriginal artwork all over our house.
“My parents are super proud that my work will be showcased at the Games.”
Jenna’s designs were incorporated into the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Australian team uniforms, which were created by iconic Australian brand R.M. Williams – an experience she describes as “mind blowing”.
“I designed several sub-graphics forming part of the lead artwork of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), the sub-graphics are based around the themes of vision, energy, legacy and unity,” she said
“They chose elements of the legacy and unity artworks to feature on the uniforms worn by athletes and volunteers, and they have also reproduced the artwork on a lapel pin and special collectable coin being produced by the Royal Australian Mint.
“I was blown away, and the athletes I spoke to at the uniform launch seemed really pleased with the designs.
“It is a massive opportunity for me, and it’s really special that the work puts culture front and centre.
“It is also special to have my artwork used by a company like R.M. Williams that has an incredibly positive reputation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”
So will Jenna be attending the Games?
“I’m an art college student, and I never felt that strongly about sporting events, but it is really special that the Games are taking place in our backyard, and it is great to see the buzz building around town.
“I will definitely be watching the opening ceremony on TV – I’m planning on having a viewing party at my place!”
Jenna graduated with a Bachelor of Design in 2013. After interning at Indigenous creative agency Gilimbaa while completing her studies at the QCA, she has worked her way up to a senior designer role, completing a number of large commissions for clients like QANTAS.
As Gilimbaa’s lead artist, her creative practice is strongly influenced by her heritage, drawing on the rich artistic practices of her Larrakia ancestors.
She credits her studies at the QCA for teaching her to dream big.
“The degree at the QCA had a big focus on socially responsible design,” she said.
“My time there really shaped my thinking about how design can make a positive contribution.
“I had some really incredible teachers at the QCA who had a lot of industry experience, and passed on a lot of wisdom about how to be employable.
“My time at Liveworm was awesome, and gave me great experience at working with real clients, but in a safe, supportive environment.”
“It was fantastic to see Jenna grow in confidence and ability during her studies at QCA,” he said.
“She always had amazing potential and we’re proud to have contributed in some small way to her current success.”