QTU shirt takes centre stage
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 4, 28 May 2021, page no.21
A polo shirt produced for the QTU’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education committee Gandu Jarjum has been selected for the State Library of Queensland’s Deadly Threads exhibition.
The exhibition, which runs until August, boasts more than 190 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designed singlets, t-shirts, polo shirts, and jerseys, from colourful sporting jerseys to protest and artists’ shirts. It looks at how the shirts have helped people freely express views, support community, show allegiances and champion causes.
Launched at the 2019 State Conference, the Gandu Jarjum shirt was based on artwork by former committee member Dr Mayrah Yarraga Dreise, a Gamilaraay and Yeeralaraaya woman. Gandu Jarjum members chose the animals on the shirts (an eagle and a turtle) to reflect Aboriginal peoples, Torres Strait Islander peoples and the Union, as Gandu Jarjum Chair Amanda Power explained at the time. The eagle is “a bird that flies high by itself, it doesn’t hang out and follow other mobs. So that’s like our Union, it’s not afraid to stand and speak up, also as it soars high it sees the whole picture, but then it can also narrow its view to focus on one point”.
“The turtle is a gentle creature which has a hard shell on its back. This is why it was placed on the back of the shirt. It’s our protection, just like we have the support of our Union’s strong back.”
In addition to the Gandu Jarjum shirt, other Deadly Threads highlights include:
- rare shirts from the Mabo Family Collection
- Johnathan Thurston’s boots
- memorial shirts designed for tombstone openings in the Torres Strait
- T-shirts designed by artists Vernon Ah Kee, Richard Bell, and Libby Harward
- ten years of Deadly Choices shirts.
For more information, see https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/whats-on/deadly-threads-where-did-you-get-shirt
A limited number of the Gandu Jarjum shirts are still available – see https://www.qtu.asn.au/gandu-jarjum for details.