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Students' art and culture reflected in international tennis trophies

Students' art and culture reflected in international tennis trophies
Published 28 October 2022
The champions of this year’s Playford Tennis International tournament will be presented with trophies designed by two students from Playford International College.

Year 12 students, Courtney Hussey and Aaliyah Rule-Stevens, used their artistic flare to create unique and colourful designs on the tennis trophies, that reflect their Aboriginal culture and storytelling.

Courtney said she is getting more serious with her art.

“I’ve always been interested in art but now I am getting a lot better. And this opportunity gives me a great sense of pride because it is something I have finished. I am always starting new projects but to see this finished and being a part of something so big, it is surreal,” she said.

Courtney’s trophy design is about celebration and bringing people together.

“I came up with this because the elements are about bringing us together. Like the food, the witchetty grubs and honey-ants and berries, because food brings people together and then there are the people sitting around and chatting in the circles.

“A sports match means everyone is together and cheering so I tried to represent that and make it a celebration,” she said.

Aaliyah said being recognised for her work encourages her to keep going.

“I'm pretty happy to see my work up somewhere.

“It helps me to feel more confident about my culture and my artwork. I have done some painting for a soccer team and designed a guernsey for them.

“It means a lot to me that people are acknowledging our culture and it’s great to see indigenous symbols on clothing, trophies and billboards. It just makes me want to keep making art,” she said.

The trophies are to be presented to the champions at this year’s finals of the City of Playford Tennis International on Sunday 30 October.

Courtney and Aaliyah both said they are excited about the possibility of the trophies heading overseas.

“That makes me feel really good because it means we are spreading our culture across the world and we are showing them our great artwork and our symbols and what it means to us,” said Courtney.

Aaliyah said: “It is cool to know that someone, whoever wins, is going to take them home and appreciate them. Sometimes you do art, and it just sits in your room, and so this is so great to be recognised."

Jamin Tripp from the Aboriginal Education Unit at Playford International College said this achievement will encourage other young artists to reach for the stars.

"When our young Aboriginal and Torres Strait students contribute to events like this it gives them a sense of pride. Being proud of themselves will help students become future leaders of our communities, when the next generations come through high school and see the achievements of past Aboriginal students, they will believe in themselves more and want to achieve higher goals" he said.

Jamin said art plays a significant role in expression of culture and building confidence.

"Art plays an important role in passing down Aboriginal history and stories. Learning through art is the best way to teach young Aboriginal students about their culture and to help them gain the skills needed to pass this knowledge down the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait students. Some of our students are not confident in speaking about their culture and history, so art gives them a way to express themselves as young proud and confident Aboriginal people", he said.