A Kimberley artist has paid tribute to the history of women’s football, recognising the contribution females have made to the sport.
Broome-based Naomie Hatherley recently launched her solo exhibition Keeping Score, which was inspired by the journey of women in football and her experience watching the West Kimberley Women’s Football League.
The Broome Senior High School art teacher said her daughter inspired her work.
“At 17 she signed up to one of the women’s team when football first started in Broome.
We’ve never been a particularly sporty family, so I was amazed by her courage and independence to get out there and give it a crack,” Hatherley said.
But her daughter’s debut didn’t go to plan.
“Our whole family turned up and she broke her arm!
So that was her 2017 season done.
Despite that, she was back the following season and I just loved watching her determination, resilience, and tenacity to get back and never give up,” Hatherley said.
The talented artist was also impressed by the off-field impact of footy.
“I was taken aback by the incredible community spirit.
The sense of belonging, support and camaraderie among the women was intoxicating.
The excitement of watching all these women and girls running out and playing in a competition they’d only been able to watch for years.
I felt quite emotional about the magic it brought to our community and it’s one of the few spaces people from across our community can come together and share in something positive,” she said.
The Keeping Score exhibition features a collection of paintings of women playing in the WKFL, with some of the scenes painted from games which took place this year.
“I’ve had two Keeping Score exhibitions, in Perth last year and a couple of weeks ago in Fremantle.
My intention is to “keep score” if you will, an artistic record of this pivotal moment in Australia’s history from the fringes, so it’s not lost or forgotten in years to come.
I was surprised to discover that the first recorded women’s game in Australia was in 1915.
It’s incredible to think we have this wonderful heritage, yet don’t know or celebrate it,” Hatherley said.
The artwork, painted on vintage tin number plates which were once used to score regional matches, creates a visual representation of the growth of participation in women’s football across WA.
“I carried the first set of white tin score plates around for about 15 years from Mullalyup to Derby to Broome.
My husband found them at the Balingup tip and brought them home for me, but it took years to find a worthy reason to use them.
When my daughter ran out to play in Broome, I knew instantly I had to keep them for this moment, to tell the story of local women’s footy,” she said.
In one piece, participation numbers can be seen surging from 4000 to 22,000 between 2012 and 2013 after the State held exhibition matches for women.
Hatherley used colour within her work to symbolise the sport and players on their journey.
“In some works, the players are depicted as ghosts inside the numbers, lost to AFL history.
But stepping outside the numbers, they are depicted in colour, no longer passive observers but active participants, seen and counted,” she said.
The artist plans to donate a 25 per cent commission on all sales at her exhibition to the WKFL.
Hatherley said she wanted to give back and support women and the female football fraternity.
“It’s not just a sport, it’s a community of amazing women who pull together in ways that extend beyond team and game.
The tenacity, the team spirit and support these women share is incredibly inspiring, and I want to pay homage,” Hatherley said.
People can find Naomi’s artwork on her website:
https://www.naomiehatherley.com?and Instagram @n0meshath