Dreamtime comes true

Point Cook Indigenous artist Russellina Puruntatameri helped design AFL jumpers during the recent Indigenous Round. (Damjan Janevski) 412176_01

Cade Lucas

It mightn’t have the prestige of an exhibition in a famous gallery, but as far as audiences go, having your art displayed at the MCG is hard to top.

That was the experience of Point Cook artist Russellina Puruntatameri recently when her artwork featured on Essendon’s jumper for their Dreamtime at the G clash against Richmond on Saturday, May 25.

“Oh it’s really big,” said Russellina of her work being displayed to more than 80,000 at the MCG and millions more on TV for the annual blockbuster, the culmination of the AFL’s Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round.

All those watching would’ve seen the Bombers win the game with thick white lines emblazoned across their traditional black and red.

Russellina said the design was typical of the art she learnt growing up on the Tiwi Islands north of Darwin.

“There’s not much dots, there’s a lot of lines,” she said of how Tiwi art it differs from other types of Indigenous painting.

“It’s similar to the Western Arnhem art but the lines are a lot bigger and thicker.”

The daughter of famed Tiwi artist, Nina Puruntatameri, Russellina was schooled in Tiwi art from an early age and despite moving to Melbourne with her husband and children six years ago, connections from back home helped get her artwork on football jumpers.

“My good friend I went to school with he had a friend who worked at the Carlton Football Club and he put my name forward,” said Russellina who then got a call from Essendon asking her to do the same.

She ended up doing Indigenous jumpers for the two great rivals at the same time, the Blues wearing her design last year and the Bombers this.

Russellina’s own allegiances though lie with Geelong.

So could she end up designing the Cats jumper for Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round in 2025?

“Oh, I hope, I hope,” she said.

“That’s on my list.”

To find out more about Russy’s story from the Tiwi Islands to the MCG, visit: youtu.be/66EM6q_ZpMc?si=SfKKxswhu3iXHUAQ

To learn more about Russy’s Dreamtime design for the Essendon Bombers, visit: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-Htalub3wc

For more of Russellina’s art, visit: russellinatiwiarts.com.au/pages/about-me