Port Adelaide Football Club’s Sir Doug Nicholls Round guernsey is under the microscope after Indigenous artist Elle Campbell claimed the art is a copy of artwork she created two years ago. 

Port Adelaide says their guernsey was designed by an Indigenous student, who had said her design was inspired by designs she saw on social media.

Campbell’s painting had been displayed at the Flinders Medical Centre as part of an art exhibition in 2019, which is remarkably similar to the Indigenous round guernsey.

Campbell took to social media on Thursday, saying how hurt she was that another Aboriginal woman has taken her artwork as her own.

“Wow. This is my painting, someone has submitted it as their own and PAFC are using it for their guernsey,” Campbell wrote on Instagram.

“The most heartbreaking part is wanting my art to be seen on my own merit, not because something like this [sic] happening. That’s now been taken away from me.”

Artist Elle Campbell with her original artwork. Photo via Instagram.

The student who submitted the work is a 17-year-old woman who had won a design competition calling for high school students to design the guernsey. She had said the design represented “the Ancestors, Dreamtime stories and people looking over us”.

Campbell, however, said the painting was inspired by her ancestral burial ground at Kingston SE and the connection they still have with the native flora and fauna on those lands.

“My mother had sent me a photo of some kangaroos coming out from the scrub to go have a dip in the water, which was the inspiration for this painting,” she said.

Port Adelaide put out a statement on Friday morning stating the club was “aware of the allegations that surfaced on social media last night regarding the design of its Indigenous guernsey for the upcoming Sir Doug Nicholls Round”.

“The club is investigating the allegations and will not make further comment until it has all the information at hand,” the club said.

The club has removed a jumper, guernsey and t-shirt featuring the design from its online shop. Port Adelaide was due to wear the guernsey in their match against Fremantle at Adelaide Oval on May 30.

By Teisha Cloos