The Spirit of Football

Ross Watson
Untitiled #17/04 (after Jacques-Louis David; 1784; featuring Brodie Holland) 2004
oil on canvas
© Courtesy of the artist and Ross Watson Gallery, Melbourne

Artists provide us with images that define the time and place we live in. Working in distinctly different styles, from disparate points of cultural and social origin, and from widespread geographic locations, the artists associated with this project have each responded in very personal ways to what they feel is the spirit of football.

This was the only brief provided to the artists invited to participate in the exhibition and prize, and for several of them whose work is not specifically about sport or football, this assignment was an unexpected but welcome opportunity to engage with a great sporting and social phenomenon. The resulting group of works offers some intriguing insights into the ways in which Australian Rules Football is deeply embedded in the cultural fabric of Australia - particularly Victoria.

More importantly, perhaps, the works demonstrate how prominently football figures in peoples' concepts of individual identity and community, in memory, and in the fundamental structure of daily lives. Football inhabits the home, the office, the streets, the airwaves, politics, and the realities and dreams of people across generations.

The participating artists are Gary James (aka Spook),Vera Möller, Brook Andrew, Jon Campbell, Kathy Temin, David Wadelton, Stephen Haley, Danny Moynihan, Gareth Sansom, Greg Creek, Louise Paramor, Ross Watson, Anthony Pelchen, Martin Tighe, Tim McMonagle, Mark Galea, Peggy Napangardi Jones, Ray Thomas, Kate Daw, eX de Medici and Kim Donaldson.


06 Aug 200403 Oct 2004 The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square