South Coast culture under the SCG lights

When the Sydney Swans run out for the Marn Grook game against the Carlton Blues on Friday, June 1, they’ll carry a piece of the Far South Coast out with them.

The Swans Indigenous guernsey, a special guernsey they will wear as part of that match, has been designed by Tilba-based artist Cheryl Davison.

Davison is originally from the Wallaga Lake region, and plies her trade up and down the South Coast.

The Swans found Cheryl through the Blak Markets, an organisation that supports small Aboriginal businesses.

“I sometimes do the Blak Market,” Ms Davison said. “The Sydney Swans absolutely loved my paintings, and it went from there.”

The guernsey design is striking, with a black swan cutting through the Swans’ traditional red and white colours.

My art is about my heritage, the Dreamtime stories from the South Coast region, and the South Coast people.

Cheryl Davison

“I had to think about that a bit, and we’ve got a South-coast Dreamtime story about how the Black Swan was created,” Ms Davison said.

“That’s my story about the Black Swan, it’s really important.

Cheryl Davison tells the story of the black swan. Video: Swans TV

“I stylized the swan the way I normally do with my art. I made it as bold as possible, and used some of the Aboriginal motif in the design.”

Davison said the South Coast was a big part of the design process.

“Every part of my art is influenced by the South Coast,” she said.

“My art is about my heritage, the Dreamtime stories from the South Coast region, and the South Coast people.

“​It’s a little bit overwhelming. It was only when I saw Lance Franklin in the jersey that I realised how great this opportunity is.

Cheryl Davison

“It’s good to see South Coast culture being put on the map.”

Davison will travel to Sydney for the event in June, courtesy of the Sydney Swans.

“I’ve got 30 tickets for all my family to attend the game,” she said.

South Coast artist Cheryl Davison.

South Coast artist Cheryl Davison.

“I also get to go to dinner with Adam Goodes and Michael O’Loughlin in the official dinner before the game.

Davidson said she will be proud when the Swans run on to the SCG in the guernsey, but it’s her family’s response she’s most looking forward to.

“For me, it’s all about pride,” she said. 

“I’ll be looking forward to seeing the expressions on all my nephews and nieces’ faces. To know they’re so proud of me, and to feel they’re a part of the game.

“​It’s a little bit overwhelming. It was only when I saw Lance Franklin in the jersey that I realised how great this opportunity is.

“I’ve had some really great feedback from everyone.”

It’s a special round for our people, one that symbolises exactly what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island players bring to the game.

Lance Franklin

Swans’ superstar Lance Franklin told Swans media he “absolutely loved” the new Indigenous guernsey.

“Obviously the black swan grabs your eye straight away,” he said.

“​It’s a great jumper, the black swan is really strong, and it symbolises a lot.

“​All the boys really love it; it looks great.”

Franklin told Swans media Indigenous round is his favourite weekend on the AFL calendar.

“It’s a special round for our people, one that symbolises exactly what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island players bring to the game,” he said.

“All the boys absolutely love playing in that round, and we get to kick it off on Friday-night football, which is the biggest stage.”

Franklin also told Swans media he feels privileged to follow other Indigenous Swans’ legends like Adam Goodes and Michael O’Loughlin.

“To have those boys as leaders at the Sydney Swans for a long period of time is amazing,” he said. 

“I’m glad I can follow in their footsteps in some way.”

Cheryl’s art will feature in the upcoming River of Art Festival.

She will host a visual art and music performance with Annie Bryant on Sunday, May 27 at Central Tilba’s Small Hall.

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