UniSC student designs dress for Sunshine Coast Lightning | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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UniSC student designs dress for Sunshine Coast Lightning

A University of the Sunshine Coast student’s artwork has been showcased on the national sporting stage, after designing the Sunshine Coast Lightning’s dress for First Nations Round.

Wakka Wakka and Tūwharetoa artist Jerome Wano said he was proud to see his culture represented through his design, as the Lightning took to the UniSC Arena court over the weekend.

“I think it’s really important for us to be recognised on one of the biggest stages in this country, which is sport,” Jerome said.

“I take great pride in having my artwork on the players’ dresses out there on the court.

“Telling their story, through our culture and perspectives.”

Titled ‘Our Women’, the artwork tells the story of creation by the rainbow serpent, the story of women in Indigenous culture and the story of the Lightning players themselves - with each segment of the serpent representing the individual players and how they come together as a team.

As a third-year animal ecology student at UniSC, Jerome’s deep-seated love of culture and country is reflected in everything from his studies to his art.

“It’s in everything I do,” Jerome said.

“Country is the foundation of who we are as Aboriginal people. Our language comes from country, we come from country, our song comes from country and everything we do is to protect country.

“So, I think it’s a very important for my art to depict that connection.”

While it’s the first time Jerome’s artwork has been exhibited to the public, he’s no stranger to bringing the culture of Indigenous Australians and the issues they face, into the spotlight.

Earlier this year he represented UniSC in New York, at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

“It was amazing for me to be able to represent my people. To make sure our faces were there and our voices were heard,” Jerome said.

“It was really inspiring and empowering to hear all the Indigenous leaders, to speak with everyone there and to see the hard work people are doing around the world.

“A lot people were there, from non-governmental organisations to representatives from UN member states, listening to Indigenous people share their stories and issues, and how those issues need to be addressed.”

Jerome wants to continue on to postgraduate studies at UniSC (Honours and PHD) and explore how Indigenous culture intersects with Western science in ecology, with a view to one day becoming a professor.

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