Goonellabah artist Karla Dickens, with her 40-year-old toy rabbit called Bunny, prepares for her Home Is Where the Rabbits Live project.
Goonellabah artist Karla Dickens, with her 40-year-old toy rabbit called Bunny, prepares for her Home Is Where the Rabbits Live project. Jacklyn Wagner

Art project inspired by Rabbitohs

YOU can tell what football team an Australian supports by the contents of their house – and for Karla Dickens the red and green fireplace and rabbit toy mascot are a dead give-away.

However, the Goonellabah-based artist admits it’s not her extensive knowledge of football that fostered her newest art project, but rather her lack of it.

Ms Dickens intends to spend the next year translating the cross-cultural language of football, and the support the South Sydney Rabbitohs football team has in regional NSW, into artwork.

This involves her sourcing local Rabbitohs supporters and taking portraits of them in their homes.

Ms Dickens, like many South Sydneysiders, grew up influenced by the football culture, attending many footy games with her Rabbitohs-supporting family.

“I was in Sydney for an exhibition recently and I was overwhelmed by the amount of Rabbitohs logos and the impact of it in the Sydney area,” she said

“It followed me up the coast on the drive back and I saw them everywhere.”

One epiphany later and the ‘Home Is Where the Rabbits Live’ project was born.

“I want to show how the Rabbitohs team lives in people’s homes and how it is a personal journey for people and that it does travel,” she said.

“I want the project to reach a wider audience and to bridge the gap between the art and the sport.”

The idea formed a proposal that recently won Ms Dickens the prestigious 2010 Indigenous Arts Fellowship Award.

“The response from Arts Northern Rivers and from the Rabbitohs club has been supportive so it has struck a chord somewhere,” she said.

“I have always just done sculptures and paintings, so the portrait part will be new for me. The work I do is usually very personal and this is about community.”

Ms Dickens has been inundated with calls from local Rabbitohs supporters interested in being involved in her project and she plans to do portraits of every one of them.

“I am completely obsessive. The last project I did had 45 pieces,” she said.

But no, Rabbitohs fanatic, part-owner and film star Russell Crowe will not be featured in the project.



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