A statue depicting Nicky Winmar's iconic stand against racist abuse from football spectators will be unveiled at Optus Stadium before the Western Derby on July 6, 2019.
- Statue of Nicky Winmar's courageous gesture in response to racist abuse will be installed in the Optus Stadium precinct
- Statue to be unveiled on July 6, before the Western Derby, on the eve of NAIDOC Week
- Installation will complement Optus Stadium's existing acknowledgement of WA's Aboriginal heritage
The statue will be installed in a prominent south-western section of the Stadium Parklands, on an area of lawn between the Swan River and the venue - with the event helping to mark the beginning of NAIDOC Week.
Winmar became etched in the history of Australian race relations after defiantly lifting his shirt and pointing to his skin after the final siren of a St Kilda-Collingwood match in 1993.
He and teammate Gilbert McAdam - who were best on ground that day - had been subjected to relentless racist abuse from sections of the Victoria Park crowd.
Pointing his middle finger to his exposed torso, Winmar declared 'I'm black and I'm proud'.
An image of the gesture, captured by photographer Wayne Ludbey, has since become a defining symbol of Aboriginal pride and opposition to racism in Australian sport.
Produced by renowned Melbourne sculptor Louis Laumen in conjunction with the AFL, the statue was crowdfunded and will be delivered to WA from Victoria in the coming weeks.
The installation will complement the stadium precinct's existing acknowledgement of WA's Aboriginal heritage and the Western Australian-built Matagarup Bridge, which already features an audio art installation to share cultural stories and is a permanent tribute to traditional owners.
Western Australian-born Noongar man Winmar - who also played football for South Fremantle and the Western Bulldogs - was committed to ensuring the statue found its permanent home on Noongar land.
The State Government has expressed its appreciation to transport company Border Express, which offered to deliver the statue from Victoria to Western Australia free of charge.
A future statue strategy for Optus Stadium is being developed, which will consider ways the State could commemorate WA's rich sporting history and home-grown sporting stars.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"I'm pleased this iconic statue will be installed here in Western Australia given Nicky Winmar's strong connection with the State. I hope this is the start of a series of ways we can commemorate WA's rich history and home-grown stars.
"The Optus Stadium precinct continues to transform with a great sense of energy and with the State Government's push for more tourism opportunities as part of the Matagarup Bridge, I anticipate it will be even more popular with visitors and tourists alike."
Comments attributed to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt:
"As a proud Noongar man and a supremely gifted athlete, Nicky Winmar was a trailblazer on the football field. But this defining action also propelled him into the arena of social justice.
"Nicky's actions that day have inspired countless other young people both in sport and in life to stand up and be proud of yourself and your heritage."
Comments attributed to Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray:
"Nicky was an exceptional footballer in more ways than one. When he stood up and said 'I'm black and I'm proud', he started an important conversation for all Australians - one that we're still having today.
"The State Government is proud to commemorate that iconic moment at WA's home of sport - not only as a tribute to the past, but as a reminder that we still have work to do in stamping out racism in all aspects of life."
Comments attributed to AFL great Nicky Winmar:
"I'd like to thank the AFL and the Western Australian State Government for commissioning the statue, the artist has done an incredible job acknowledging this moment in my life.
"It's a surreal thing to be a part of and it's something my family are very proud of.
"I hope this statue encourages more conversations and education about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture."
Comments attributed to AFL General Manager Inclusion and Social Policy Tanya Hosch:
"Nicky Winmar is a champion of our game, and through the power of football became a powerful advocate for his people and started a national conversation.
"The statue of Nicky Winmar depicts one of the most iconic moments and images our game has seen. It was a defining moment for calling out racism in our country and we look forward to unveiling the statue at Optus Stadium in July."