Aliesha Newman: Championing Culture and Craft on and off the Field

Aliesha Newman: Championing Culture and Craft on and off the Field

Aliesha Newman’s strength on the football field is matched by her deep connection to her Indigenous heritage and artistic talent. The seasoned AFLW player, a proud Ningyningy woman, has been a fixture in the league since its inception in 2017, playing for four clubs. However, her cultural bond with Collingwood stands out. Aliesha Newman: Championing Culture and Craft on and off the Field

Newman joined Collingwood and quickly made an impact with her creativity, designing the club’s historic Indigenous guernseys and hand-painting boots for her teammates. Her passion for promoting Indigenous culture is evident in her work, particularly during the AFL’s Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Rounds.

“I’m super excited to work with the Pies on this,” Newman said in a video on the club’s social media ahead of the 2024 Indigenous rounds. “It’s an amazing opportunity to be able to showcase our culture.”

For three seasons, Newman has been the creative force behind the custom-designed boots worn by Collingwood’s AFL players, a project that has grown significantly. “In the first year, I just did Steele (Sidebottom’s) boots. Last year I had six or so of the boys’ boots and this year the tally is up to 41 boots,” she shared.

Each pair of boots tells a unique story, blending traditional techniques with personal elements from the players’ journeys. Newman takes particular pride in her work for players like Issac Quaynor, whose boots feature a yarning circle symbolizing his African roots and his path to becoming a cult hero at Collingwood.

Newman’s journey to becoming an Aboriginal artist was a deliberate one, inspired by her desire to connect with her culture and ancestors. Growing up in Melbourne’s western suburbs, she was distant from her Ningyningy roots in Northern Queensland. However, she has since immersed herself in her heritage, using her art to tell the stories of her people and her teammates.

Painting intricate designs on the boots is an intensive process, often taking up to an hour and a half per pair. Newman even tackles challenges like the near seven-foot Mason Cox’s boots, which take a bit longer due to their size. “Having a whole squad able to wear your painted boots I think speaks volumes,” she said.

Newman sees her role at Collingwood as part of a broader movement towards cultural change and acceptance. “It’s not just, I guess, putting on a jumper and wearing these boots,” she explained. “It comes a lot with the education. Seeing young Indigenous boys and girls being able to see the culture represented on TV is massive.”

Reflecting on her journey and the progress made, Newman feels proud of the strides taken by the club and the AFL community. “This club has really come a long way,” she said. “To see your favourite players, whether they are Indigenous or not, wearing these boots and understanding the reasons as to why we promote this round so heavily is really important.”

The National Indigenous Cultural Centre (NICC) is an Indigenous home.
We provide Indigenous products, music, art and news.
If you want Indigenous gifts and merchandise, bush tucker food at your next event or Indigenous entertainment at your next party, expo or conference, feel free to contact us!

Visit our page:
Tony Clemenger.
Chief Executive Officer.
Tel: 0419431649.
Level 1 397 Chapel Street South Yarra 3141.


Write a comment