The City of Playford has kicked off its celebration of female football with a legacy mural piece bringing new life to Ridley Reserve in Elizabeth.
The reserve will be the training base for the Panama Women’s National Football team when they arrive in Australia later this month for their FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign.
The mural, painted by artist Scott Rathman, will not only welcome the Central American team to Playford, but will remain long after the tournament as an acknowledgment to people from all cultures who play sport in our city.
City of Playford Mayor Glenn Docherty said the mural reflects the role of sport in breaking barriers and unifying people of all backgrounds.
“Sport is a universal language that unites us all,” Mayor Docherty said.
“Having Panama travel all the way to Playford as part of the World Cup demonstrates how sport transcends language and cultural differences. The legacy mural captures this sentiment and represents something we know as a community – that sport touches the lives of long-time and new residents alike.”
A ceremony was held today to mark the completion of the mural, which was painted during NAIDOC Week by renowned Eastern Arrernte artist and former Playford resident, Scott Rathman.
“As an Aboriginal artist, we’ve been mark making for thousands of years so this is just an extension of what my ancestors have done,” Scott said.
Growing up in Munno Para, Scott has happy memories of his tight-knit street, attending Craigmore High School and playing local sport.
“I grew up in a suburb where everybody knew everybody and if people needed something everyone would help them out and I still see that a lot here today,” he said.
“I’ve included a sunrise in the design to represent the promise of a new beginning, but also the centrepiece is about being a learning community, as we have people from such diverse communities and there’s so much we can learn from each other.
“This is a very strong community where people are constantly learning from the stories of others and bringing their own experiences from far away countries.”
A traditional smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country by Ashum and Takari Owen from Ngangki Warra – a female Kaurna group – was performed as part of the dedication.
The mural is visible from Main North Road and can be accessed from Fairfield Road, Elizabeth.
A line up of events have been planned for the month-long celebration of female football, including a clinic for young female players and a masterclass on inspiring women in sports.
Find out more about these events at playford.sa.gov.au/female-football