Opals unveil Indigenous uniform for World Cup

[by Jo Juler]

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Image: supplied

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The Seven Consulting Opals will play in a specially designed Indigenous uniform at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup starting this week in Sydney.   The team were presented with the uniform this morning in a moving ceremony at Cathy Freeman Park.  Budjiti/Murrawari Elder Bruce Shillingsworth acknowledged the traditional owners and offered a blessing to the team before presenting them with their singlet.

This is the first time that the Opals will play in an Indigenous design and the significance was felt by every team member. Captain Tess Madgen read out the meaning of the artwork and encouraged them to use it as motivation in their upcoming games.

“Let’s wear these uniforms with pride and go out there and make an incredible statement to the world,” Madgen said.

Head Coach Sandy Brondello reflected on Bruce’s message about community and heritage.

“It resonated with all of us that being here today is about connecting to community and being respectful of the land upon which we are playing. We are all honoured to be playing basketball for our country and playing in an Indigenous designed green home uniform will be something special,” said Brondello.
 

The uniforms have been designed by Daniel (Danny) O’Shane who comes from a strong family of Aboriginal and Eastern Torres Strait Islander heritage. Danny has been the recipient of several prestigious national print awards and his work is held in major national and international collections.  Danny has a strong connection to basketball, his partner’s mother Jenny Evans (Reisener) was one of the first indigenous players to play for the Opals.

He draws inspiration from the previous generation of Torres Strait Islander printmakers, combining an extraordinary talent in carving ‘warr’, a form of symbolic patterning, to create a rich moving tapestry that serves as a backdrop for the characters in his stories.

To create the artwork Danny hand carves the print on a block of vinyl/lino and then hand prints the design with black rolling ink resulting in a beautiful, intricate piece of artwork.

Fans will be able to purchase the green (home) Indigenous uniforms at Rebel, Throwback and the Basketball Australia Store from this Tuesday.

 

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Artist: Daniel O’Shane
 
Language Group:  Kuku Yalanji (Mossman to Cooktown) and Kulkagal (Central Torres Strait)
Erub Mer (Eastern Torres Strait)
Tribe/Totem: Meuram/Beugerr (Booby Bird)
Clan Totems: Omai (dog), Nam (Green Sea Turtle), Serarr (Black-Naped Tern)
 
This print exhibits the values and pillars that we share and strive to uphold as a people, nation and team. These values are represented by the five reefs that cross through the centre and pertains to our connection to land and strong sense of culture, the importance of family and community, our resilience to push though and get back up, humility and attitude of team over self, the journey and acceptance of hard work with no end and acknowledgment of together we are stronger. The leaves that create a canopy over these reefs brings all these values together and keeps us accountable to deliver and uphold these standards. The ‘Sik’ (flowering and life of the ocean) are represented by the jagged lines that vibrate from the sides of the reefs which convey the energy emitted from the collective effort when all are in a working motion. Just like a real reef, if there is no life or energy or the conditions are not optimal the reef becomes sterile. And finally, the ‘Warr’ (patterned wavy linework) that encompasses the design is the intangible flow of our culture and mimics the flow of water. Each line consists of individual and symbolic shapes and patterns depicting totems, animals, landmarks such as the fish traps found in the Eastern Islands of Zenadth Kes, decorative motifs and sound.

 

 

 

 

 

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