WE ARE ONE - The First XI

Portraits of Australian Indigenous cricketers, past and present. 

Archivalpigment prints, handcrafted dyes, creative Emulsion, on 100%cotton fibre paper, Editions of 3. Available for acquisition or private collection, contact hello@clairereynolds.com 

WE ARE ONE – The First XI celebrates the journey of the all Aboriginal First XI cricket team of 1868 to travel to England, playing 47 matched in 127 days. The body of work features current Australian Indigenous cricketers, direct descendants of the First XI, and Elders from mainland Australia and the Torres Straight.

Created in 2022, WE ARE ONE has shown across 3 states, Lantana Gallery inQueensland in 2022, Photo Access in the ACT in January/ February 2023, and Harrow Gallery in Victoria in march 2023. 

Reynolds has produced a series of artworks utilising analogue and digital processes with hand developed films and handcrafted dies from native Australian species, referencing the unique connection between Australian indigenous people culture and Country. A short video of the Indigenous cricketers by Sasha Parlett accompanied the exhibition, no longer available for viewing or exhibition.  

Reynolds worked with cultural advisors Uncle Richard Kennedy, direct descendant of Yanggendyinanyuk / Dick-a-Dick from the First XI of 1868, and Uncle Michael Mainhardt who was in the first Australian Indigenous cricket team to retrace the steps of The First XI in 1988 in order to realise this project. Both Elders gave full support for Reynolds to continue and celebrate the legacy of The 1868 First XI trail blazers. Reynolds received arts funding for the project, through Sunshine Coast Regional Arts Funding, Arts Queensland, and Australia Council for the Arts. 

Black Swans Of Gunaduyen, Home of The First XI, 

Edition of 5, available for acquisition or private collection - Enquiries to: hello@clairereynolds.com 

Black Swans glide effortlessly over the lake, nuzzling into one another, forming groups and chattering, the soft sounds of their trumpeting calls travel across the water. In thedistance Eucalyptus gather like protecting friends guarding the horizon.
How many centuries have Black Swans called this lake their home? I can feel the weight of history here, and imagine the Black Swans calling out to The First XI cricketers asthey trained for the epic journey ahead.

Accompanying the WE ARE ONE portraits, Black Swans Of Gunaduyen, Home of The First XI are editions of 5, all unique in their own. The landscapes taken at Gunaduyen/Lake Wallace at Edenhope, south west Victoria. It was on the shores of this lake that the Indigenous Australian men would learn, practice and play cricket.
The dyeing process: Working with Brisbane Botanical Gardens I collected different species of Eucalypt; leaves, sap and bark. The three main Eucalypts I used had traditionaluses for healing, making coolamons, and the flowers from some trees for snacking (for me they also represent beauty; large lush flowering gums are so divine).

I created hand crafted dyes, boiling the flora for hours in big pots over fire, sometimes with mordant; sap, aluminium, copper or iron. To get the colour ‘right’ the water had tobe cooled just off boiling, then poured into large trays with the paper. Constant agitation was needed to move the pigment around the paper evenly. With the water pipinghot the properties of the paper changed, the pigment from the leaves and bark firmly engulfing within the texture of the paper. After drying the paper I had to paint a specialemulsion that would coat the paper, ready for the printing with archival inks.

It was a challenge to find a printer to work with. The possibility of the printer heads clogging and not working is very real, most turned the job down. Eventually I found awonderful couple, Stella and Jon, both artists themselves, living in Samford Valley who are so talented, they worked tirelessly and through many obstacles to get the jobdone.
As with all photographic prints these works are best displayed out of direct sunlight.