AFL superstars and grassroots football feature in art exhibition

September 1, 2016

AFL superstars and grassroots football feature in art exhibition

Artwork by Lauren Henry

The art of football is curated by Mildura man Bob Utber, who sourced work from artists from across Australia — all of who have an interest in football.

It is the first time many of the artworks have been seen outside of Melbourne.

"I believe it will be the biggest art exhibition of the art of football ever seen in rural Australia," he said.

Mr Utber admits he is biased about AFL being "the best sport in the world".

He was a football tragic long before his grandson Patrick Dangerfield started playing AFL, with the Adelaide Crows and now Geelong.

"It is the thing that brings country towns together, within the town itself and rivalries between towns. It's a great game," he said.

"Football is such a national passion and pastime — it's part of our social fabric."

The exhibition also features artwork of 2015 Brownlow medallist Nat Fyffe, West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui, AFL games record-holder Brent Harvey, Indigenous ambassador Adam Goodes, shunned Essendon coach James Hird, Collingwood's Nathan Buckley, St Kilda stars Robert Harvey, Lenny Hayes, Nick Reiwoldt and Nicky Winmar, and Fitzroy "super-boot" Bernie Quinlan.

"I would really like football followers to come along, because I find that football people get a bit ingrained in what they do and don't think outside the circle.

"What we've tried to do with the exhibition is cover all aspects of the sport — the AFL and VFL levels and right down to grassroots and suburban footy."

Artwork on loan from AFL

The AFL lent Mr Utber a couple of pieces to add to the exhibition, including a guernsey from an Australian Rules Football exhibition match at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

The artwork Up there Cazaly, also on loan from the AFL, is the oldest painting in the exhibition, featuring Roy Cazaly in action.

"The phrase "up there Cazaly" was actually used by the troops when they went into battle in the First World War," he said.

"Mike Brady wrote the words for Up there Cazaly in 1979 and it became the highest-selling record at the time in Australia. In fact, the tune has been taken up by two English soccer clubs as their theme — it's fascinating."

The exhibition includes painting, cartoons, caricatures, a maquette of a proposed statue of Mark Ricciuto, Indigenous artwork, etchings and abstract works.

"There are different genres throughout the exhibition, rather than have them all the same, I felt it was important for people to see different types," Mr Utber said.

"As someone who has never curated an exhibition before, I'm extremely pleased about what we've achieved and how the staff at The Art Vault have been able to display the paintings.

"From one artist, they told me about another artist, and it just went from there. Would you believe there are some paintings that came from a discussion with another tourist in St Petersburg in Russia?"

The exhibition, at The Art Vault, Mildura, launches tonight at 6pm, and is open until September 19.

The artwork will then move to be exhibited in Berri, in the South Australia's Riverland.

To view original article please click here:

Tags: Exhibition