The Richmond Football Club has unveiled its guernsey for this year’s Dreamtime at the ‘G clash with Essendon on Saturday, May 31.
After pioneering the way for Indigenous inspired guernsey’s four years ago, Richmond players will again wear a uniquely designed jumper for the Dreamtime at the ‘G match, which celebrates its tenth year in 2014.
In the third year of the national competition for Indigenous artists, the successful design selected by an independent panel will be showcased during the flagship game of the AFL’s Indigenous Round.
Gippsland artist, Mick Harding of the Taungwurrung people is the winning artist for 2014, with his design featuring a shield printed on both the front and back of the guernsey.
Harding, a sculptor and creator of wooden artefacts, says he draws inspiration for his artwork from the stories and experiences of the elders in his community and the natural landscapes.
In his design, Harding uses the competition’s theme of ‘Recognise’ to acknowledge Indigenous Australians as the first people of this country, highlighting their strength and resilience throughout the journey of two thousand plus generations, and believing that recognition of his people is the first step towards Reconciliation.
The shield in his design represents both a protective and combative icon, and also symbolises the fight of the men and women of generations past.
“I felt that shields would represent both our men and our women, and all those generations that have come before us, and how they did what they did for the struggle for our people. I hope I do them justice,” Harding said.
“The artwork is predominantly linear work, I used the shield as an actual protective shape, as a combatant, and also for men and women to look after their children,” Harding said.
A limited number of Dreamtime guernseys will be available from Richmond’s Tigerland Superstore from 9am on Thursday, May 22, with proceeds from sales going to the Korin Gamadji Institute (KGI), to develop the next generation of Indigenous leaders.
Harding is a strong supporter of the KGI’s work to provide education, leadership and pathway opportunities to young Indigenous people, and proud that he can contribute to developing emerging leaders.
“It’s fantastic to know that not only you win a competition, to put your artwork on an AFL jumper for the Indigenous Round, but the proceeds go back to Korin Gamadji (Institute), and going back into our young people and supporting those young people to live their dreams,” he said.
“I don’t think Korin Gamadji (Institute) (will) see the fruit of everything they’ve done for probably 10 years, and then you’ll probably see true leaders in our communities.”