Artwork created in the 2021/22 Djilang Program, presented by Barwon Water, will have a lasting display at GMHBA Stadium after a new installation was unveiled at the ground.
The most recent Djilang Program saw children and young people tell their stories through handprint art which will be featured at Geelong’s AFL men’s and AFL Women’s Djilang matches, as well as other major and community events at the stadium
Ahead of the Cats’ AFLW Round 10 match, the artwork installation was unveiled, with a window decal reflecting opposite the club’s existing Djilang Garden, beside the Cats Shop and Charles & Co. Café.
The decal features more than 120 handprint designs created by Djilang Program participants during last year’s program, helping tell the story of children and young people in the community.
In 2021/2022 we partnered with the Cats for the‘Djilang’ cultural arts program for First Nations young people.— Barwon Water (@BarwonWater) March 18, 2022
The program culminated with the unveiling of some 120 handprints created by Djilang program participants last Friday night.@GeelongCats | @catswomens pic.twitter.com/getvLtA4IF
The focus of the program was handprint and identity. Our hands are used for many things. They hold the things important to us; hug those we love; provide healing; celebrate each other through high-fives and provide help to people around us.
Cats AFL men’s players Quinton Narkle, Brandan Parfitt and Tyson Stengle also attended the unveiling.
Geelong Cats General Manager – Community Sarah Albon said it was wonderful to see the Djilang Program participants’ artwork find a home at the stadium.
“In consulting with local community, part of the feedback we received was that children and young people want to see themselves reflected at our stadium and on game day,” Ms Albon said.
“The Djilang Program handprint art installation will see those stories become an enduring part of our stadium and the home of the Geelong Football Club.
“In 2021, we had the pleasure of working with 120 children and young people across Geelong and the south-west, who designed their very own handprint, the art being their identity.
“Individually, all the prints are striking, but collectively they are powerful.
“This installation will sit beautifully with our Djilang Garden and murals for everyone who comes along to this stadium to appreciate.”
Working with local organisations Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-Operative, the Homework Club, Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Strong Brother Strong Sister and Kupang Al (meaning ‘friend’ in Peekwoorroong language) and the Kardinia Park Stadium Trust, the Djilang program rolled out around NAIDOC Week last year.
The project also recognised National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day, which is annually acknowledged on August 4. Last year’s theme ‘Proud in Culture, Strong in Spirit’ was reflected in the handprint art created by the children and young people.
The Djilang Program is proudly supported by Barwon Water, with Barwon Water chair Jo Plummer also attending the unveiling.
“It’s an honour for Barwon Water to continue our support for the Djilang program. Working together with the Cats, Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation and the other local organisations enables us to bring our community together and have a positive and long-lasting impact,” Ms Plummer said.
“We’re privileged to continue our learning journey from Traditional Owners who have cared for Country for tens of thousands of years. For us, this program is an opportunity to help celebrate the culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and support children and young people to reflect on and tell their own stories.”
“I would like to thank all the artists for their participation in the program … we’re really looking forward to enjoying your artwork for many years to come."