Indigenous artist, Gavin Flick, his son, Jai Rose,and wife Alanna Rose, created traditional Aboriginal coolamons for the medal presentation ceremonies at the Sydney Paralympic Games.
One hundred and fifty larger coolamons were used to carry bouquets and team medals while 150 smaller coolamons, including this example, were used to carry medals for individual athletes. Over 30 venues hosted Paralympic events with each venue receiving at least one large and one small coolamon for their medal presentations.
Indigenous artist, Gavin Flick, and his son, Jai Rose, carved the coolamons in 1999 from a variety of native woods. Wife, Alanna Rose, applied the traditional painted designs signifying `coming together for ceremony’. Together, their work reflects their relationship with the Kamilaroi Language Group in north-western New South Wales.
As part of the Sydney Paralympic Organising Committee (SPOC), the Ceremonies Division orchestrated the medal presentation ceremonies, selecting the medal designs, the podium designs, bouquets of native flowers and uniforms for the medal bearers and flower bearers. In addition, it invited 850 students to present medals and bouquets to athletes finishing in first, second and third positions, and requested members of the Australian Defence Force to raise the national flags.
In 1999, Gavin Flick also collaborated with Sydney Organising Committee of the Olympic Games(SOCOG) to select a traditional object that could be crafted quickly and in large quantities.
This process led to the selection of the message stick and its refinement to a suitable size. Known as friendship sticks, 145 were made as gifts for officials at the Sydney Olympic Games.
Created by Flick, along with his son, Jai Rose, three examples were created each week while his wife, Alanna Rose, applied the traditional, concentric designs. Also contributing to the project, Flick’s brother collected pieces of mulga wood during his trips to the bush.