In this blog post, we’ll be giving you a little look behind the ‘seams’ of our NAIDOC 2022 collection. We talk to artist Nathaniel Chapman about the design process of creating our Yarn 2022 artwork ‘Spirit of Our Mob,’ and also learn about what this year's NAIDOC theme Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! means to him.
Nathaniel Chapman and his gorgeous newborn boy Nakoa. Courtesy of Nathaniel Chapman, 2022.
Nathaniel is a proud Goenpul/Yuggera man from North Stradbroke Island and Brisbane City. He also hails from the Wambia clan from the Northern Territory. As a young Indigenous man, he has travelled the world sharing culture through song and dance. Now, he is passionate about expressing culture through his art, and helping the Indigenous art scene grow and evolve.
When first hearing about this year’s NAIDOC theme, Nathaniel says he immediately knew what he was going to create:
“I grew up amongst it all, the marches and all of that. My whole life I’ve been a very cultural man, I’ve done a lot for my Country where I’m from. As soon as I heard this year's NAIDOC theme, I felt straight away that I knew what it was going to be about.”
Nathaniel says that he wanted to base the artwork on the marches, which have become an important way for Indigenous communities to stand up for their rights and bring about change:
“I knew straight away I’d base it around the marches, which happen every single year in every suburb and state in Australia.”
Nathaniel creating initial sketches. Courtesy of Yarn, 2022.
So Nathaniel did some research about protests around the world, and the main imagery that came up was the fist: a symbol of power, pride and perseverance. This was combined with the people shown at the bottom of the artwork, representing community and unity. Nathaniel says that coming together in tough times is something that the Indigenous Australian community is very good at:
“That’s one thing I can be proud of - coming from Indigenous culture, we are very supportive of each other. It doesn’t matter whether you're Torres Strait; whether you're Koorie, Noongar - we’re all one mob.”
Final NAIDOC artwork titled ‘Spirit of Our Mob.’ Courtesy of Yarn, 2022.
We went on to talk further with Nathaniel about what this year's NAIDOC theme means to him, and the changes he would like to see for Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities:
“I’d like to see cultural sites and sacred areas acknowledged by the governments, that's very important. There's still artefacts being found every day in some places, even here in Brisbane. The government needs to take more notice of Indigenous land, especially significant areas…I’d like to see more acknowledgement and more programs to help Indigenous people get on their feet. Because when they do get on their feet, they’re a powerful human being.”
He goes on to talk about how Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! is a theme that Australia really needs right now:
“It feels like it's the right time. With everything else that’s going on, reconciliation, all of the black deaths in custody, there’s a lot going on in this Country. Finding different ways to get all of the mob involved, white Australians included, is the best way of bringing about reconciliation, and the best way for people to learn.”
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about Nathaniel Chapman’s design process for our 2022 NAIDOC collection, as well as his insight as to the importance of this year's NAIDOC theme.
You can check out our NAIDOC range here. Keep your eyes peeled for further NAIDOC releases coming soon!