GAVIN WANGANEEN knows Indigenous art.
An accomplished artist in his own right, the former Port Adelaide captain and AFL Brownlow Medallist has described as “amazing” the design that will feature on the club’s Indigenous guernsey to be worn during this weekend’s Sir Doug Nicholls Round.
Designed by Adelaide artist Elle Campbell, the design titled “Kangaroos on the Coast” depicts Kangaroos coming out of a scrubland for a drink in the ocean at a traditional burial ground at Kingston in South Australia’s South-East.
Wanganeen – the first Indigenous player to play 300 AFL games, win a Brownlow and be appointed as a club director – admitted to feeling jealous that Port Adelaide’s players would be able to wear the guernsey against Fremantle on Sunday.
“I think the artwork is amazing and Elle has done an amazing job to tell her story,” he said during a press conference alongside Ms Campbell on Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s a pretty cool looking jumper and I’m sure they’ll go out the door pretty quickly.
“I wish I could be out there wearing it. I didn’t get a chance to wear an Indigenous jumper when I was playing.
“The players are very lucky to be able to wear an Indigenous jumper and celebrate their culture playing footy this weekend.”
There was some controversy when the design was initially launched regarding the original designer but with that cleared up and Ms Campbell being acknowledged as the artist, the club will wear the guernsey with her permission at Adelaide Oval.
Ms Campbell has asked that any proceeds from the sale of the guernseys go back into Port Adelaide’s Aboriginal community programs, and Wanganeen commended the young artist for her understanding and support of the work the club does.
“Elle has shown experience beyond her years, the way she’s handled this situation,” he said.
“She should be applauded for her professionalism and her new art career.
“It’s great to showcase her design and her talent and it’s important to acknowledge Elle and her design.”
Ms Campbell said what was once a hobby inspired by a dream about her nan has become a legitimate art career that excited her.
“It’s kind of blown up a bit with people messaging me asking for paintings, which has been really overwhelming,” she said.
“I’ve been working on getting an Instagram page up and running to try and showcase some of (my artwork), which I was in the process of, and I’ve done a whole rebrand with a new logo and everything so I’m hoping it will emerge from that.”
It is a special week for Wanganeen with the Sir Doug Nicholls Round celebrating Indigenous culture and the huge contribution Indigenous players have made to the game.
“Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous round means an awful lot to the Indigenous players and Aboriginal people across the nation,” the two-time AFL premiership player said.
“It’s an opportunity to celebrate our culture, the Indigenous culture of this country, because it’s everyone’s culture.
“It’s great to recognise the amazing contribution the early (Indigenous) players had to make to make it easier for the younger players to play the game today.”