Football club accused of artistic theft

Football club accused of artistic theft

An Indigenous artist has accused Port Adelaide Football Club of using a stolen design for their 2021 Indigenous Round guernsey, prompting an investigation.

The club recently revealed the new jumper and associated merchandise ahead of their match with Fremantle on May 30.

The design was chosen after the club asked high school students to “design a guernsey that represents their family, culture and heritage”.

The teen who won the competition last year, which COVID-19 delayed the use of, said at the club’s press conference on Wednesday that she had spent months painting it after finding inspiration from designs she saw on Instagram.

“This is a big accomplishment for me to have so many people see my artwork,” she said.

But South Australian woman Elle Campbell claims the design was her “exact painting” shared online and displayed at an exhibition as early as May 2019.

“Wow. This is MY painting, someone has submitted it as their own and PAFC are using it for their guernsey,” Campbell wrote alongside a photo of herself holding the painting and a screenshot proving it was on public display two years ago.

“I am deeply hurt by the use of this painting and the ‘artist’ claiming this work (to) be their own,” Campbell continued.

“The meaning behind this painting was one of my families’ ancient burial ground at Kingston S.E. and the connection we still have with the native flora and fauna on those lands.

“My mother had sent me a photo of some kangaroos coming out from the scrub to go have a dip in the water, which was the inspiration for this painting.”

At the press conference, the student said the top half of her design represented “the ancestors, Dreamtime stories and people looking over us” while the bottom half “represents the skin colour, the sand, the animals, the dirt, anything”.

“The line in the middle that’s the river, represents food source, water, it’s a way - a river that we follow in order to go somewhere.

“The footprint in the river is, as I said before, the food source.”

Port Adelaide confirmed they had commenced an investigation into the claims on Friday, May 21, less than 48 hours after the unveiling.

“Port Adelaide is aware of allegations that surfaced on social media last night regarding the design of its Indigenous guernsey for the upcoming Sir Doug Nicholls Round,” the club said in a statement.

“Port Adelaide is investigating the allegations and will not make further comment until it has all the information at hand.”

Campbell said she was feeling “pretty heartbroken that another Aboriginal woman has stolen my artwork that not only means so much to me but is also one of my first paintings”.

“The most heartbreaking part is wanting my art to be seen on my own merit, not because something like this happening. That’s now been taken away from me.”

Port Adelaide and Campbell have since removed their posts from social media.

Image credit: 7NEWS

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