[by Patrick Nelson]
Exhibition celebrates champion softball team
A collection of papier-mâché sculptures inspired by the success of the Amoonguna softball team will go on display at the Watch This Space gallery in Alice Springs this week.
It is the first exhibition for most of the works, made by Charles Darwin University PhD candidate Vicki Crowley and former Amoonguna (Amwengkwerne) softball star Margaret Palmer.
Ms Crowley said about 40 works told the story of the pride and power of the Amoonguna softball team, which unexpectedly blitzed the Alice Springs B-grade competition to win five successive premierships in the 1980s.
“Our aim was to try to capture the success, laughter, as well as the deadly seriousness that these women experienced almost 40 years ago,” Ms Crowley said.
“The team played in homemade uniforms and with borrowed gloves, masks, bats and balls. They displayed a ‘dead eye, a ‘good arm’ and could hit the ball a mile.
“Margaret was the first-base player and won the best and fairest award. She is also the principal artist in this collaborative art project, which has the support of an Indigenous knowledge group comprising past players and senior women from Amoonguna.”
Ms Crowley said her association and friendship with the Amoonguna community east of Alice Springs dated back four decades to when she worked there as an educator.
“This exhibition is a visual representation of a story that belongs to the women of Amoonguna. It’s a story of an underrated and often overlooked community.
“They asked that their recollections be made visible, recorded, presented and enjoyed. They asked that their experience, passion, skill and belonging be recorded and understood on their terms.”
The exhibition season runs from 4-21 March, with the formal opening on Friday 6 March and an artist talk on Saturday 7 March.
Margaret Palmer and Vicki Crowley. Image: supplied
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