Grassroots Aboriginal rugby in photos at The Q

“Quinton Silva from La Perouse Panthers leads his team from the field in celebration” 2010 digital photography by Amanda James

AMANDA James first attended the Aboriginal Rugby League “Knockout” Carnival at Nambucca Heads in 1986 after her middle class, white family of five had relocated from Sydney’s southern beaches to Tweed Heads.

The carnival, now in its fourth decade, gathers men, women and children from more than 60 different language groups to take part.

On the first day at her new school she met Donna Fay, “an enchanting year 9 student of Aboriginal and South Sea Islander parents. I went to the “Knockout” with Donna and her mob,” she says.

Over the decades the carnival has became an important way to unify people within the communities and James realised that the significance of this carnival reached beyond sports.

She says: “28 years later Donna, her immediate and extended family and many members of the Tweed Heads Aboriginal community are family to me, nanas and aunties to my children and a central part of my inspiration to use my camera to document positive, candid stories of contemporary Australian Aboriginal and Islander life.”

Curator, Arthur Chan, says: “The most important element of this documentary is the positive energy generated around the carnival, the moments captured are when everyone is enjoying themselves and expressing their sense of pride to be who they are, the game had somehow evolved to be the proverbial ‘icing on the cake’.”

True to the spirit of the Knockout series, The  Q is saying, everyone is invited to attend this opening event on June 14 from 5.30- 7.30pm.

“The Knockout Carnival”, Amanda James exhibition, at “The Q” Exhibition Space, Mon – Fri 10am – 4pm, Sat 10am – 3pm, June 13-30.



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