Made of Women:
When art & footy collide
We’re celebrating International Women’s Day 2021 by highlighting the women in our community who inspire and empower us.
Footy and art might seem worlds apart. But in both domains, female trailblazers are breaking down barriers and making their mark. The 2021 AFLW Indigenous Round brings the two together, highlighting the women who are using their talent and platform to empower others. We’re excited to continue that conversation. Meet the artists behind this year’s AFLW Indigenous Round guernseys.
Proud Kija Jaru woman from Halls Creek, Western Australia. Drafted to the AFLW in 2019, Krstel plays for the Melbourne Demons and is the artist behind the Demons guernsey.
“I wanted to play AFLW for the girls that never had the courage to play footy, so I could be a role model for other Indigenous and non-Indigenous girls.”
Why did you want to play in the AFLW?
Playing AFLW has always been a dream of mine, since before I could walk. I love the game and the fun it brings to my life. I love the community and culture, the connections and the lifelong friendships you make. The opportunities that the AFLW platform brings and the doors it opens to make change makes it an amazing sport.
Tell us about your design
There are thirty symbols around the circles on my design, and this represents each and every one of the girls on our AFLW list. It’s really important to acknowledge and pay respects to my teammates and non-Indigenous players. They are proud to wear this jumper, and embrace and love our culture just as much as we do. This design represents people from all different walks of life coming together and going on the same journey.
What’s your favourite thing about your team?
The culture, friendship and love we have for each other and within our team is something that I will never take for granted. We are a family, and we are one. We work extremely hard for each other and keep each other accountable. We all want to see the best from each other, and we put in the work for each other.
Why is the Indigenous Round and guernseys designed by Indigenous artists so important?
It is a round where people teach, learn and educate each other on Indigenous culture. It is a round that accepts everyone and a round where we celebrate.
Proud Dja Dja Wurrung and Ngurai illum Wurrung woman. This 18 year old artist and activist is behind the designs of both the Carlton Blues and Western Bulldogs guernseys.
“I grew up watching my mum paint and have always been mesmerised by her style, accuracy and precision. She found the strength and passion within herself to be a role model for my family and the backbone of the revival of Wurundjeri culture and language.”
Tell us about your design and the inspiration behind it
Designing two inaugural Indigenous AFLW guernseys is an amazing feeling and I’m extremely grateful and humbled to have the opportunity to represent my people and my country. The Carlton guernsey features a mother tree which symbolises wisdom and knowledge, and other symbols that showcase the strength of mothers and women, and connection to country. The Bulldogs guernsey highlights the strength of women and moving into the future in a positive way.
Who is your biggest role model?
My mother, Mandy Nicholson. My mum has helped re-awaken Wurundjeri culture and language and has given so many Wurundjeri women the opportunity to express and learn our culture and language. My family was forced not to speak language, teach culture or practice it. I have always wanted to be just like her in every way possible.
What would be your advice to other aspiring young female artists?
Just to remember who they are and to use their unique style in the way they feel most comfortable. It’s important young people use their voice and their story as a way to express themselves. I think that it’s important to remember that they can do whatever they set their minds to.
Naarm-based artist and proud Arrernte and Luritja woman. Michelle’s designs are featured on the Richmond Tigers guernsey.
“My design reflects my own story and our community's story here at the club. It’s for our staunch Matriarch that lives on. It’s for every woman that steps on that field and represents something greater than ourselves. We are bold. We are powerful.”
How did you get involved in designing the 2021 AFLW Indigenous Round guernseys?
I currently work in the Korin Gamadji Institute (KGI) at Richmond Football Club, which empowers young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through leadership and health related programs. I was approached to design the jumper to reflect on the 10th anniversary for KGI, to share the story of the women who have come through our programs and have become leaders.
What was your favourite part of the design process?
My favourite part has been sharing the stories of my culture and my people to a wide audience. It allows non-Indigenous people and stories to connect and merge using symbols and storytelling. The symbols used in my design are sacred, and link to our people and Dreamings. I am simply the storyteller who helps our Cultures and our people’s livelihood strongly live on.
What does ‘Made of Women’ mean to you?
‘Made of Women’ represents the strong Matriarch that has allowed our young women to not only exist but to truly thrive and succeed in all spaces. I am proud to be a part of this Matriarch, who will continue to create change, do good, and always be bold and powerful.
What would be your advice to other aspiring female artists/creatives?
Just do it. Go and put your art into the world. There will always be someone who will connect with your story. It will not only heal you but those around you. It will be one of the greatest feelings.