My name is Patrick Sowerby and I am a year 10 student participating in the Middle Years Program (MYP) Personal Project. My project is about expressing my experiences and learning through an Indigenous rugby jersey.
From the moment that I laid my hands on a rugby ball I was drawn to the sport of rugby union. From eight years of rugby I have gained significant experience as to self-representation in a rugby team. My passion gave me knowledge as to the importance of a jersey and what it can display about a team. I knew a jersey was imperative in portraying team values, culture and beliefs. Over the years of watching rugby I have noticed that jerseys can also promote awareness for a topic which leads into my developed curiosity for Indigenous culture. My family and I have an interest in supporting indigenous pathways but believe there is still room for improvement and that is why we are continuously involved in supporting Indigenous communities, such as Lockhart River. Combining my curiosities in both the culture of our first peoples and rugby, I looked to my experience at Lockhart River and conducted various interviews with indigenous students from Bond University to create my own jersey.
Throughout the design production and through various experiences I have learnt some things that cannot be learnt in a classroom. Most of which relate to the real life issues of Indigenous communities in not only Queensland but rural Australia. The Lockhart River trip raised some large issues for me. When I arrived, the streets were covered in rubbish and surrounded by wild dogs but the issues were worse than they looked. Most kids don’t attend school, domestic violence was apparent and solutions that actually worked such as the Puuya Foundation don’t have enough funding to maintain its program. However, the natural ecosystems surrounding the town were stunning. Dense green rainforests, wide river canals, unusual ant mines and beaches that last a lifetime were all around the town.
When I was in Lockhart, I learnt strategies and techniques used by famous Indigenous artists such as Irene Namok and Elizabeth Queeny. Most techniques taught to me mostly related to telling a story through the painting. They taught me to paint from the heart, using colours to represent the emotions of the story.
Although I have finished the design, the factory had trouble enlarging the document and therefore, it was required of me to redraw the jersey using a higher resolution, width and height. The symbols on the jersey have a significant meaning to me and will forever remind me of the amazing journey I have undertaken to learn about Indigenous art, culture and pathways. I hope to auction one of the three jerseys I will send to be made. The money will be given back to the Lockhart River Art gang who were the reason I am creating the jersey in the first place.
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