Celebrating Indigenous culture is a significant element for Australia & New Zealand 2023
Artist Chern’ee Sutton explains the important symbolism and meaning of the tournament’s branding
“I’m hoping that the world will see and appreciate more of our ancient and unique cultures”
The FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ is set to be a landmark event both on and off the field. In a series of firsts, the tournament will be held in two different nations across two confederations and feature 32 teams.
In Australia, First Nations culture is being embraced in a way rarely, if ever, seen before as part of a local sporting tournament. The host cities will include the traditional Indigenous name, while reaching Indigenous Australians is a key component of Football Australia’s Legacy ’23.
Equally Indigenous elements from both sides of the Tasman Sea feature in the logo and branding for Australia & New Zealand 2023.
To mark this year’s NAIDOC Week in Australia – the acronym NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee – FIFA.com hears from proud Kalkadoon woman Chern’ee Sutton who helped design the Australia & New Zealand 2023 branding.
Sutton is excited by the prospect of not only showcasing her work to the world, but is looking forward a heightened level of awareness of First Nations Australians. “It is extremely significant to have such a large tournament showcasing Indigenous artwork at the centre of their brand identity,” Sutton said.
“This event is sharing Indigenous art and culture with millions of people around the world, bringing awareness to our First Nations people and our amazing artists.
“Most importantly it is helping to pave the way towards reconciliation and encouraging other organisations to follow in FIFA’s footsteps to work with First Nations people from around the world, not just in Australia and New Zealand.”
Australia might be seen as a young country by many but, in fact, it is home to the world’s oldest living culture. “We need to keep our stories, art and language alive for future generations,” Sutton said.
“There is much to be learnt from Aboriginal culture, we were the first astronomers, miners and chemists, we have lived in harmony with Mother Nature for over 60,000 years nurturing our lands and sharing our culture.
“I’m very inspired by my Aboriginal Culture and heritage and want to share that with the rest of the world through my art, which is important to me because it is part of our heritage and history and our identity – it’s who we are.”
Sutton, who has provided artwork for multiple sporting organisations, explained some of the symbolism and meaning behind her work for the tournament.
“I wanted to highlight all of the amazing women who will be proudly competing and representing their countries to claim victory, but mostly I wanted to share my culture with the world.
“In the painting the snake represents Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history. It also represents the rainbow serpent, which is one of the most widely recognised Dreamtime stories for Aboriginal mobs all around Australia.
“Every mob has their own language, customs and stories but the story of the rainbow serpent is one of the stories that many mobs from around the nation share. The rainbow serpent created the landscape, created the rivers and waterholes, the mountains, valleys and the many features of the land.
“I’m hoping to see many other businesses and organisations from around Australia and the world following in FIFA’s footsteps and wanting to work with and support our First Nations peoples, whether that’s though art, music, stories, language or sport.
“I’m also hoping that the world will see and appreciate more of our ancient and unique cultures, so when they travel to places like Australia and New Zealand they seek out authentic Indigenous experiences and support our people which provides them knowledge, wisdom and culture so they can have a better understanding of our history and our nation’s history.”
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