Naomie Hatherley has never been a footy fan but the game has always been lurking in the background. “My first solo exhibition in 2007 was on the religion of football, as an outsider, I was trying to make sense of the all-consuming passion,” she said.
Also waiting for attention was a pile of footy scoreboard number plates she had picked up at the tip in Balingup and put away.
Then Naomie’s daughter started playing footy in Broome – she broke an arm in the first game her mother saw but that didn’t stop either of them.
My interest lies in the community of the women’s game and what it represents to so many. I love how the women’s game has become this powerful metaphor of what is possible – women fighting passionately for some space, stepping out to be counted.
I have held onto the score plates for 10-15 years, waiting for the right project to use them. When I watched my daughter play and witnessed the fiercely supportive community she became a part of, I knew I had found the perfect source material. In watching these amazing women of all ages, shapes, sizes, backgrounds and cultures come together to battle it out on the field I felt so inspired I wanted to honour them in what felt like a significant moment in our local community history.
From an art perspective, I have been examining the female form as an active muse. In counterpoint to the long tradition of the typical female form as soft, passive, object of desire, I am enjoying exploring the physicality of the form in action – fighting for the ball – and depicting women’s bodies in ways that historically has been forbidden as dangerous, unfeminine, unsexy, confronting, powerful and empowered.
Naomie Hatherley’s exhibition Keeping Score is on from Wednesday 7 July to Saturday 24 July at Cool Change Gallery in the Bon Marche Arcade 74-84 Barrack Street, Perth.