(ABC Radio Darwin: Jesse Thompson) ABC Radio Darwin
By Jesse Thompson and Liz Trevaskis
June 02, 2018 07:30:53
Jennifer ‘Lulu’ Coombes designed the guernseys to be worn by the Hawks.
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“It was about a dreaming and about creation, that sort of stuff, and it just resonated with us in a way that we thought would be good with the Dreamtime.”From Tiwi to Melbourne, the guernsey will be worn at tonight’s annual Dreamtime at the G clash between Essendon and Richmond. Photo:
Arthurina Moreen (centre) designed the guernseys to be worn by the Bombers in the Dreamtime clash. How do I come into this?’,” she said.She was so nervous it took her a few weeks to accept his offer of designing the Hawks’ guernsey for this year. “I’ve always seen the jumpers and I thought one day I want to do one, but I couldn’t believe that someone was asking me to do one.”Tiwi culture, AFL styleMs Coombes said it was emotional when Rioli got his hands on the final design earlier this year.”I think we both were feeling proud that we’d been able to showcase our culture as well as the footy and merging them together was really good,” she said.Emblazoned in the Hawks’ signature yellow, the guernsey depicts three rising Pukumani Poles animated with vibrant traditional colours.Ms Coombes said the poles played an important role in life on the Tiwis, typically appearing in ceremonies when someone had died.”It’s usually the deceased person, their brother-in-law or sister-in-law carves a tree and decorates the pole with certain designs.”Usually it takes about six months, the whole mourning period for doing the Pukumani.”Then they have the final ceremony that probably lasts a day and they actually place the Pukumani pole around the gravesite to keep the evil spirits away from the deceased.”
Ms Coombes’ design was inspired by Pukumani poles, like those at the Darwin airport. “Most of them really took it on board and were excited by the opportunity, especially to have the chance to go down to Dreamtime for a week and watch the game,” Tiwi Girls’ Academy coordinator Rhiannon Parker said.”I felt pretty stressed for the rest of them because there were so many good designs that we sent away and I couldn’t pick between them.”Arthurina’s winning design was chosen by Indigenous Bombers Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, Jake Long and Luke Lavender, who was born in the NT and has family in Alice Springs.”I couldn’t believe the designs these kids came up with actually — they were incredible,” he said.”There were a lot of different stories with the different jumpers, but hers was simple. Photo:
Ms Coombes’ design is a hit among her family. (Supplied: AFL NT)
“I said, ‘Oh, that sounds exciting. (ABC Radio Darwin: Jesse Thompson)
The reverse side shows an interpretation of a Kulama, a three-day, three-night celebration that heralds the beginning of the dry season.According to Ms Coombes, local support for her involvement is fervent and many will be watching the match from their homes in the Tiwi Islands.She said that in the football-loving community, people who didn’t barrack for Essendon wanted to buy the guernsey.Schoolgirl behind Dreamtime designThe Essendon jumper, meanwhile, was also designed by the hand of a Tiwi footballer trained by her family.”My painting represents Tiwi culture in the way that the land and dots represent the elders that taught me to paint,” said the designer, 18-year-old Tiwi College student Arthurina Moreen. (Supplied: Tiwi College)
When her school, alongside Xavier Catholic College on Bathurst Island, was approached by Essendon Football Club to come up with the design, the interest from students was immense. “I just couldn’t believe it — I think it was just nerves. The opportunity to design guernseys for the AFL Indigenous Round unites three pillars of life on the remote Tiwi Islands — art, family and footy.Jennifer “Lulu” Coombes is an artist from the islands north of Darwin whose work, and the culture it depicts, will soon be witnessed by spectators around Australia.She is one of the handful of artists to have designed the guernseys worn in the AFL Indigenous round.Ms Coombes began working at Munupi Arts on Melville Island when she finished school, often with the guidance of her grandfather, and in between joining the multitudes of locals taking a punt on the field.”Footy was like a second religion for us over there; everyone loves it,” she said.Last February, she got a message from Hawthorn premiership player Cyril Rioli, one of the Tiwi Islands’ best-known sporting exports and the son of Ms Coombes’ cousin.He told her they needed an artist.