The work of Bundaberg Indigenous artist Chern’ee Sutton will again reach a national audience on the jerseys of the 2021 NRL Harvey Norman All Stars.
It’s the fourth year that Chern’ee has received the honour, having also designed the 2015, 2016 and 2017 men’s Indigenous All Stars jerseys.
Both the men’s and the women’s team jerseys were designed from Chern’ee’s concept artwork.
Chern’ee said it was an incredible honour, having been selected from artists across Australia to design the artwork.
“I created the painting a while ago and submitted it and was lucky enough to be selected by the panel of judges,” Chern’ee said.
“I found out that I won about six months ago, so was absolutely thrilled but it’s hard keeping it secret!
“It felt absolutely amazing.
“There’s certainly some very talented artists out there and there would have been some tough competition.”
A central feature of Chern’ee’s artwork for the 2021 NRL Harvey Norman All Stars design is a Rainbow Serpent representing more than 65,000 years of Indigenous life, history and culture in Australia.
A shield and two spears represent the defensive and attacking skills of the Indigenous All Stars and 16 different coloured circles depict the various NRL teams sending players to join the squad.
Kangaroo and emu footprints within the artwork represent the NRL's commitment to reconciliation, which is always moving forward.
Chern’ee said it was a dream come true to have her artwork featured on the jersey and the fan merchandise.
“The jerseys are available for sale, there’s pants, hats, socks, flags – everything! Even footballs.
“It’s always such an amazing feeling.”
She still remembers walking into the stadium and seeing her previous design every which way she looked within the crowd.
“It’s a huge, huge honour.
“It makes me feel so proud every time.
“Even today I see people walking around in Indigenous All Star jerseys that I’ve designed in the past.”
Designing the 2021 NRL Harvey Norman All Stars jersey is one of many career highlights for the Kalkadoon artist, who has called Bundaberg home for most of her life.
She’s also previously been contracted by the AFL Bombers, Tennis Australia, the Defence Force, the Commonwealth Games and has been awarded National NAIDOC Youth of the Year.
One of Chern’ee’s paintings is also part of the royal collection and Prince Charles has participated in her interactive art project as part of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“It’s been a crazy journey so far that’s for sure.
“I’m very lucky to be able to do my passion as my career.
“It’s something that I do pretty much from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to sleep.
“When you love what you do it’s not really a job, it’s a passion.”
The 2021 NRL Harvey Norman All Stars will be played in Townsville at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on Saturday, February 20, 2021.