Art and sport come together in AFL artwork

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A major art work showing 18 individual sculptures of current AFL players representing each of the AFL clubs has been unveiled  at Parliament House today by the Speaker of the House of Representatives the Hon. Tony Smith.
The 2016 AFL Dream Team
The 2016 AFL Dream Team

The artwork, “The 2016 AFL Dream Team”, was sculpted from the softwood of the Beantree (Erythrina vespertilio) by artist Dinny Kunoth  Kemarre from Utopia NT to celebrate National Reconciliation Week. 

The figures have been painted to bring out the cross cultural  identities of the players, chosen by Mr Kemarre’s  grandchildren.

It announcing the purchase of the artworks, Mr Smith said “this wonderful new addition to the collection combines two of Australia’s abiding passions – art and sport.”

Wrapped  in his favourite Swans scarf and sporting a Swans handkerchief, Mr Smith told those present that since 1980 the Parliament House art collection had acquired almost 600 contemporary works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait artists from urban, regional and remote areas.

He was joined on the podium by AFL manager and head coach for the Adam Goodes talent program, John Love, who spoke about the benefits of engaging indigenous people in sport, giving that it went a long  way towards closing the gap.

Marc Gooch from Alice Springs, representing Mr Kemarre,  who was unable to be present, explained how the artist had carved the sculptures with a tomahawk and kitchen knife from the softwood with “dedication and gentleness.”

“The 2016 AFL dream Team” will be on display in the Presiding Officers exhibition area on level one of Parliament house (open to the public) until the completion of NAIDOC week on July 10.

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Helen Musa
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