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National Sports Museum to present Tiwi Footy exhibition

March 23, 2011
Melbourne's National Sports Museum is to present an exhibition exploring the influence and importance of Australian football in the lives of a small indigenous community in the Timor Sea.
To be held from 11th April to 17th July 2011, Yiloga! (meaning 'footy' in the local Tiwi language) is an exhibition dealing with the place of footy in Tiwi indigenous culture. Photographs, guernseys and memorabilia highlight the Tiwi community's passion for the Australian game as well as its positive impact on community life.
AFL players who have originated from the Tiwi Islands include renowned players such as Michael Long and the late Maurice Rioli, who both forged indomitable careers in the AFL, have thrilled crowds with their sporting prowess, athleticism and style on the football field.
The images explore the cultural and social aspects of 'yiloga' and the prominent place of footy in the social network of the region, referencing the tribal/clan alliances which form the basis of football on the Tiwi Islands.
Brother John Pye, who introduced the game to the Tiwis more than 60 years ago, once noted that "football has unified people on the islands. They are all from different clans, but as soon as you pick a footy team they are all in it together."
Photographers Peter Eve and Monica Napper have worked collaboratively with the community to produce a remarkable series of documentary-style photographs that endeavours to break down barriers and redress stereotypes about indigenous communities.
The Tiwi Islands Football Grand Final, a major event for the inhabitants, continues to draw crowds from all corners of Australia and features prominently in the photographic display.
General Manager of the National Sports Museum, Margaret Birtley explains "we are excited to be able to showcase this fantastic exhibition to our many visitors, who will no doubt be enthralled by the colour and excitement of Tiwi footy, captured so beautifully in these photos. We hope people leave with a greater understanding of the importance of football in the life of the Tiwi community and the positive influence this has had on the AFL game.
"The National Sports Museum is proud to present this touring exhibition, in collaboration with Artback NT, and gives thanks to Peter Eve and Monica Napper for the loan of these works and for sharing their unique perspective with the rest of Australia."
Yiloga! Tiwi Footy is a touring exhibition from Artback NT: Arts Development and Touring in conjunction with the Australia Council for the Arts and the Northern Territory Government Department of Natural Resources, Environment, the Arts and Sport.

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