A story of connection and growth headline Richmond’s Dreamtime jumper for the 16th annual Dreamtime match against Essendon in Sir Doug Nicholls Round.
Designed by the Club’s Korin Gamadji Institute Program Lead, Michelle Kerrin (Arrernte/Luritja) in conjunction with Shane Edwards (Arrernte) and Jack Riewoldt, the jumper tells the players’ story since arriving at Richmond together in November 2006.
The famous yellow sash has been transformed into a gum leaf, symbolising a pre-game ritual Riewoldt picked up in his early Dreamtime games where he would place the leaf handed to him by Wurundjeri Elder Aunty Joy Murphy into his sock.
The leaf sash is split into two sides, with the white side representing Jack’s story throughout his time at the Club and his learnings of Indigenous communities.
The orange/brown side represents Shane’s journey, not only within the Club but within his own identity. It starts with the rain of a heavy head and clears with the sun coming out, depicting the clarity of learning more about his indigeneity.
In explaining this experience for the artist, Edwards recalled a Club trip to Central Australia.
“In 2012, we went on a footy camp to Alice Springs, and I got to go to my community Santa Teresa (for the first time) and just have a look around,” Edwards explained.
“Belinda Duarte (Director of the Club’s Korin Gamadji Institute at the time) made a phone call to the principal of the school there, and I got to meet everyone, (and) 50-100 of them came to our game which was amazing.
“Before it, it was like I had never thought about it, but after it, I felt really clear. Almost straight after it, I was talking more, and my footy improved.
“It is an enormous growth, and I have evolved as a person.”
Korin Gamadji, the name of the Club’s Indigenous Institute, means ‘grow and emerge’ in Woiwurrung, the language of the Wurundjeri peoples, the Traditional Owners of the land on which Punt Road Oval is situated.
Celebrating its 10th year this year, the KGI has enabled the Club and its people to emerge as leaders of reconciliation and social justice.
Fittingly, Riewoldt spoke of his own growth as a person through the Club when telling his story to the artist for the jumper.
“One thing I am really embarrassed about in my life is that I did not learn about Indigenous Australia and true Australia until I came to Richmond,” Riewoldt said.
“I feel like I have grown so much as a person by learning about Aboriginal Australian culture and Indigenous people and the programs I have been involved in over the journey.
“I have been on 15 community camps in my time here. Some people do not open their eyes because they do not get the opportunity. I have been fortunate enough through the football club to have been to these places.”
Symbols of land and country feature throughout the jumper, while the centre of the sash represents connection and the long line of brothers Edwards and Riewoldt share a special bond with.
A Tasmanian devil paw print further tells Riewoldt’s story at the top left of the jumper representing his home. The text under it, “the day I met my brother,” pays homage to him meeting Edwards.
The bottom right-hand side features an image of Edwards’ great-great-grandmother Annie holding her baby Elsie, and the back of the jumper includes handprints of Shane’s grandmother Monica Wittman, who passed away last year.
The jumper will be Richmond’s 11th Dreamtime jumper worn in the AFL and the first designed in combination by an Indigenous and non-Indigenous player.
“Together they will thrive. Together they will fight. Together they will win.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
Michelle Kerrin is a young Indigenous artist and proud Arrernte and Luritja woman. Michelle is currently employed full time by the Richmond Football Club as a Program Lead at the Korin Gamadji Institute.