Jumper with meaning

John Mahet (Supplied)

Tara Murray

Werribee will celebrate Diversity Day this Saturday when it takes to the field for its Victorian Football League clash with Williamstown.

While the local derby between the two standalone clubs is a big occasion on any day, this round will mean a bit more for Werribee.

The club has had local artist John Mathet design a jumper, representing the diversity within the club and the greater Wyndham community.

Mathet, who has previously been a winner in the Wyndham Art Prize, lives in Manors Lakes and is a digital artist and art teacher at Manor Lakes College.

He has also worked for Wyndham council.

Werribee originally sourced the jumper through Junubi Wyndham, which was established in 2018 to support young people in the South Sudanese community and their families.

It also links South Sudanese young people and their families with activities and services.

Mathet, who has painted murals for the Wyndham community education centre offices, said it was the first time he’s done something like this.

“It’s a big project, an exciting project,” he said. “It’s one of the most exciting projects that I’ve done this year.

“I got to go through the research process and got to meet new people and come up with an idea after working with people at the club.”

Mathet said he has done several art projects with Junubi, including the murals.

It’s the first time he’s designed a sporting guernsey.

“I had done a t-shirt for a campaign for a local election,” he said. “That was a few years ago.”

The 23-year-old who was born in South Sudan before moving to Australia in 2014 and Wyndham in 2015 said he tried to design a jumper that represents everyone.

“Diversity is such a broad concept,” he said. “It’s not easy to bring it into one piece of artwork.

“They asked me to come up with something they thought best represents sport and the best way to represent the community.

“They were happy with it. I didn’t get as much time as I would have liked, it was a quick project.

“I showed them a few other art works, but this was the one that stood out to them.

The jumper was set to arrive at the club this week in the lead up to the game.

Mathet will be a special guest at the game.

“I’ll come and meet some of the players.”

Werribee’s business operations general manager Justin Abrams said the club embraces ‘Multicultural Round’ and values the diversity of the Wyndham community.

“We have a proud tradition, being a club located in the west and think it is a great opportunity to showcase our brand and the Wyndham community and diversity within the region,” he said. “We strive to add value and positively impact our community through football, breaking down barriers and embracing all cultures and backgrounds.”

Werribee takes on Williamstown on Saturday at Avalon Airport Oval from 2.05pm.

The last time the teams met was on Anzac Day, with the Seagulls inflicting one of the Tigers two losses for the season.

John Mathet explains the his design which will be on Werribee’s jumpers this week.

Hands: Represent unity and connected to the sport of football and hands integral in football.

Smaller hands within the artwork: Different colours celebrate differences in general, when you look closer through sizes, younger generations following in footsteps and football-sport is something that brings joy and happiness to the community. no matter age, race, religion. Sport is a universal language that brings people together, regardless of the language you speak and the beliefs you hold, when you come out here you put your guernsey on and unite to support your team.

Finger tips: Finger prints represent our identity and how that makes us unique and special, but also adds onto the collective of all of us coming together. Certain cultures bring own music, food etc and it’s bought together and is what makes Wyndham a great community.

Kangaroo and Australia flag in the palm represents the Aussie spirit: The land were on, no matter how far we’ve come, what language we speak, what religion we believe in, we all land on the same soil and put our differences aside to celebrate and find joy in the same things we all find common. No matter where you’re from, we are all Australian. That’s why it’s right in the palm of the hand because its our identity. Capturing the Aussie spirit; regardless of your background, footy brings us all together and we all come out here and celebrate in unity, and once your team wins, everyone is happy and everyone is cheering, celebrating a story we are all riding together.