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Monica's NAIDOC gift to Centacare


AFLW best-and-fairest Anne Hatchard has lit up Country in boots bearing her dots. SANFLW players have proudly worn her designs in Indigenous Round. And Sherrin balls carrying symbols of her on-field journey have been passed between clubs as gifts.

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But it’s on the walls at Centacare that Monica Turner-Collins, talented footballer and artist, is now sharing her deep connection to community – and what it feels to belong.

The 17-year-old Anmatyerre/Arrernte woman from Santa Teresa and Yuelamu communities, in remote Alice Springs, recently painted a collection for Emmaus House after learning of Centacare’s work in children’s services through former footy teammate Megan Jones.

The pieces reflect people coming together to seek a sense of safety in solidarity.

Monica, who is visiting on Kaurna land, first picked up a paint brush aged five.

“I used to watch my grandmothers and aunties paint a lot,’’ she said. “I grew up listening and learning at the same time. I thought what they were doing was cool, so I started painting too.’’

Monica’s aunty Amunda Gorey designed Melbourne Football Club’s 2021 Sir Doug Nicholls Round guernsey while works by her grandmother Jannis Collins hang in Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Melbourne Museum.

Monica credits her family’s female role models among her biggest influences – personally, and as an artist.

“Once I start painting, I just don’t want to stop, I want to keep going,’’ she said, adding some pieces can take weeks to complete.

“I try and be creative with everything I do and not repeat what I’ve done before. When somebody tells me what to put in a piece, I incorporate that into the story which tells bits of mine as well.

“Some pieces have thousands of dots.’’

Monica often incorporates symbols of bush medicines and animals, such as her totem the emu, into her works which she says connect her to country and culture.

For her Centacare collection, Monica chose colours to reflect the organisation’s identity and the way it brings people together through services and supports.

The theme this year for NAIDOC Week (July 3-10) is ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’.


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