Sunshine Coast Lightning has revealed its 2023 First Nations dress to be worn during Round 11 and 12 of the Suncorp Super Netball First Nations Round.

The artwork for the dress, ‘Our Women’ was hand-painted by University of the Sunshine Coast student, Jerome Wano, a Wakka Wakka Tūwharetoa artist.

Jerome grew up in Alice Springs which is where he learnt to paint, and moved to the Sunshine Coast when he was 21 to study a Bachelor of Animal Ecology.

Written by Jerome, this is the story of the artwork:

Three stories are portrayed in this artwork; the first is the story of the creation of country. This sacred country, Australia, was created by the rainbow serpent. This painting depicts part of the serpent’s journey over Kabi Kabi country. The circles represent the rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and waterholes. The lines on the outer represent the plants, valleys and mountains. The sitting people represent the family groups, the clans, and the surrounding Nations. Even though people claim that First Nations people have lived here for 25 thousand, 60 thousand, 80 thousand, or 120 thousand years. There is no doubt in our minds that we were born from the soil of our country and created alongside the trees, valleys, rivers, and mountains of our country. Therefore, we have been here as long as they have.

The second story is about our women. Our culture reveres women for their role as keepers of language, song, story, and lore. In this role, our mothers take great pride as it is vital to the continuation of our people. The sitting people represent our mothers teaching our children, and the inner circles represent the continuation of culture. Women are also revered for their ability to create, hold and nurture life. The two sections of circles represent the reproductive system of a woman. The circles represent water and the role that water plays in the body and in the creation of life. Most traditional birthing ceremonies not only occur around water but in it. Birthing ceremonies are women’s business; only women and their children are present during these sacred times.

The final story is about the Sunshine Coast Lightning team members. The sitting people represent the different birthplaces of the women on the team and their family groups. The lines connecting the sitting people represent the women’s life journeys. Additionally, the lines represent their newfound connections and the merging of their journeys. Each of the serpent’s body parts represents the players on the team as they join together to create the serpent. The serpent represents the unity and linking of their spirit while the women are out on the court. The lines on the outer represent tree growth rings, symbolising the growth that each member of the Lightning Netball Team has experienced during their time on and off the court.

Sunshine Coast Lightning players will wear this dress this Saturday, 27 May at 5pm at UniSC Arena for First Nations Round.

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