THE GAME CHANGERS will wear a guernsey designed by 17-year-old Indigenous artist and proud Kalkadoon person, Brooke Sutton, in the competition’s second League-wide Indigenous Round.
The importance of the round is something that is close to Sutton’s heart, who is proud to have created a design which represents the Carlton Football Club and its journey, players and supporters.
“It’s such a significant round to be able to recognise Indigenous Australians,” Sutton said.
“We have such a beautiful, rich and ancient culture and I'm so honoured to be able to celebrate and raise awareness of Indigenous cultures and history.”
After initial discussions with the Club, Sutton set to work on a thorough creative process.
“I did a bit of research on the Club and its history," she said.
"I then did a rough sketch of what I wanted the artwork to look like. After I was happy with the initial sketch I transferred that vision onto canvas, where I painted the art piece and I did all the fine details and colours.”
The piece entitled ‘The Mighty Blues’ features a large community symbol which symbolises the Club as a whole: there are also 22 people symbols which represent the 16 players on the field, five on the bench and Senior Coach.
There are two community symbols which are for both senior sides, and the shields behind them symbolise the battle that will take place on the field.
The design also features a number of large blue arches which depict the different stadiums visited during the season, and the coloured arches represent the spectators who support the AFLW each week.
Sutton’s favourite element of the design are the footprints which tell the story of Carlton’s history, representing the marks that the Club has left behind and the importance of acknowledging and learning from the past and embracing what’s yet to come.
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“The inspiration of the artwork comes from my culture and also from reading and delving into the history of Carlton from its beginnings to present day – from their ups and downs and the greatest achievements and biggest difficulties, to the tight bond that all the players share with one another,” she said.
Sutton’s own artistic journey stemmed from strong family roots, but she remained focused on forging her own path.
“I grew up in a household that loved the thought and time and passion that went into handmade art.
“I remember watching my sister accomplish great things with her art – I saw her travel to amazing places and meet wonderful and interesting people, and I wanted to see that as well.
“I used to ask her if I could hide in a suitcase so I could go with her but she always told me that this is something that I had to work for, so that's exactly what I've done.”
Sutton hopes her work will spark a conversation, flagging the importance of embracing and celebrating Indigenous culture and the role that non-Indigenous Australians can play.
“You don't have to be Indigenous to support our Indigenous players and be a part of their Indigenous Round,” Sutton said.
“The best ways to do this is to buy authentic Aboriginal art products, support First Nations artists, even if it's just a like or share on social media. Every small act can make all the difference.
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“Education is key. Through education, reconciliation can be achieved. It's important to acknowledge and remember the past, but also look forward to and embrace the future.”
Sutton’s design will be on full display during the Game Changers’ Round 9 home game against the Gold Coast Suns at IKON Park.
“To me, it is a huge honour to see my design worn by the Carlton Football Club. It's such a humbling experience and I can't wait to see them wearing the guernsey on the field, fighting to win during the Indigenous Round.”