News, Culture & Society

Adelaide 36ers accused of exploitation by Aboriginal artist Elizabeth Close

‘Beyond scummy:’ Basketball team are accused of exploitation after offering Aboriginal artist ‘free tickets’ in exchange for work

  • Adelaide 36ers approached Aboriginal artist Elizabeth Close to design jerseys 
  • They said they could only pay her in free tickets and social media promotion
  • The club has since apologised to Ms Close for the way the situation was handled 

A basketball team has been accused of exploiting an Aboriginal artist after offering to pay her in ‘free tickets’ for designing their Indigenous round jersey.

Elizabeth Close, a Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara woman from Central Australia, said the Adelaide 36ers approached her about working with them.

However, after asking Ms Close to send a quote, they told her they would not be able to pay her because their budget was decided before they announced the Indigenous Round.

Elizabeth Close, a Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara woman from Central Australia, said the Adelaide 36ers approached her about creating a jersey for them 

Instead they offered to pay her by giving her free tickets and social media promotion. 

‘I’m assuming therefore that they paid the graphic designer who designed their original jersey in free tickets, caps and drink bottles, right,’ she posted online.

Miss Close went on to question the sports team’s motivation behind designing the new jersey. 

‘Why do the 36ers want an Indigenous jersey anyway? Do they want it because they believe in the spirit of Reconciliation and celebrating First Nations Australians in basketball? Or do they want it because it’s the trendy thing to do? to look like you’re culturally switched on, and use it for media opportunities,’ she asked.

‘Can they not see the absolute irony of exploiting an Aboriginal Artist in their effort to make themselves look woke, and engaged in Aboriginal issues and Reconciliation?’

However, after asking Ms Close to send a quote, the club told her they would not be able to pay her because their budget was decided before they announced the Indigenous Round.

However, after asking Ms Close to send a quote, the club told her they would not be able to pay her because their budget was decided before they announced the Indigenous Round. 

She said if they were a ‘progressive, culturally competent organisation’ then it is appropriate to expect professionalism.

The club has since apologised to Ms Close for the way they approached and dealt with her.

A statement from the club that was issued on Sunday said the club was reaching out to artists for the project and hadn’t finalised who they had chosen.

‘The club has not yet finalised who the Indigenous artist will be, but are happy to pay for the service or accept a volunteer service, depending on the wishes of the artist,’ the statement read.

In 2017 Ms Close called out Qantas for asking her to paint for them without paying her in money

In 2017 Ms Close called out Qantas for asking her to paint for them without paying her in money

‘Elizabeth Close was one of the artists we approached to support us on this project and in hindsight we acknowledge it was not done so in the appropriate manner. 

‘In our learnings, we are extremely sorry for the hurt and offence we have caused to Elizabeth and her family and will ensure moving forward with these types of projects we do so in a way that is respectful.’

Social media users were shocked by the club’s behaviour.

‘The fact that they want to exploit an Aboriginal artist by having them design jerseys to promote reconciliation about Aboriginals being exploited is insane,’ one person wrote.

Another said: ‘This is a shining example of why ‘woke’ rebranding for cultural events without actual material support for the culture itself is beyond scummy.’

In 2017 Ms Close called out Qantas for asking her to paint for them without paying her money during NAIDOC week, which celebrates Aboriginal culture.

They  instead asked her to paint for ‘exposure’.

THE ADELAIDE 36ERS FULL STATEMENT 

The Adelaide 36ers are currently talking with a number of interested Indigenous artists for the design of our Indigenous jersey. The club has not yet finalised who the Indigenous artist will be, but are happy to pay for the service or accept a volunteer service, depending on the wishes of the artist.

Elizabeth Close was one of the artists we approached to support us on this project and in hindsight we acknowledge it was not done so in the appropriate manner. In our learnings, we are extremely sorry for the hurt and offence we have caused to Elizabeth and her family and will ensure moving forward with these types of projects we do so in a way that is respectful.

The Adelaide 36ers are committed to celebrating the First Nation’s Australians and beginning the journey to understanding and learning the spirit of reconciliation. To ensure this is done so in the most culturally appropriate manner, we have now engaged 36ers ambassador Eddie Betts and his family to consult on the project. Eddie has worked to support other similar projects in the AFL with great success.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.