SID DOMIC was born and bred in Rockhampton. He is of Aboriginal descent, is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1990s and 2000s and is now a respected Indigenous artist of over 25 years. Domic played in Australia for the Brisbane Broncos and the Penrith Panthers and in England for the London Broncos, the Warrington Wolves, the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats (Heritage № 1215), and Hull F.C.
Domic also coached junior players whilst playing professionally and following his retirement. While he was in Brisbane with the Broncos, Domic worked for the Aboriginal and Islander Child Care Agency, helping young people in detention learn more about Aboriginal culture, sometimes bringing in Elders to talk to the kids; storytellers, musicians, dancers, artists, trying to make them more aware of their culture.
Sid had been bringing artists into the centre to teach the boys how to paint and started to sit down with them and paint a bit himself. If Sid learned something about his people, he would paint it, and as a result, Sid has gone on to paint hundreds of paintings he is really proud of, with the images being an interpretation of what he has learnt.
An opportunity to combine his passion for sport with his art, in 2010, Domic’s artistic ability led him to be selected from a field of six artists to design the Indigenous All Stars’ jersey, as well as Johnathan Thurston’s custom headgear, for the annual NRL All Stars matches. Much of his knowledge in this area has been passed down to him from his grandmother.
A proud Kalkadoon man, painting is a second career for Sid, with an awakening to his culture during his early 20’s seeing Sid start a journey of discovery about his heritage. He uses his art as a tool of expression, telling the stories of his roots, and he brings to life the culture of his people, the Kalkadoons. Ever since discovering his roots, he has been researching the Kalkadoon people and his family’s background as much as possible.
A display of his work called “Searching for my Kalkadoon” has been exhibited at the Rebecca Hossack Gallery in the U.K. after Hossack was informed about Domic’s work by a client in Hull sending her a cutting from a local newspaper. “Sid has an incredible sense of colour, and his designs are remarkable,” she told BBC Sport. Domic’s paintings are ongoing projects, and he will go back and add to finished pieces as he learns more about his people’s history and heritage.
He’s also found opportunities to extend his research and art through speaking engagements at schools, organised by the clubs he played for overseas. If a student asked a question he couldn’t answer, it became an opportunity for further research and painting. Through his fame from his playing career, he has visited children at many schools to expose them to Aboriginal culture.
Passionate about Aboriginal culture in general, Domic has the ambition to spread knowledge about Australian hidden culture through his art and to promote stories in the way of learning or to stimulate conversation about the content of his art. His ability to connect to a story comes naturally, and his creations flow seemingly effortlessly as he captures symbolism through art.
He has a keen interest in meeting people and experiencing their journeys through his art, where their story is given in layers throughout the project of a commissioned piece. Apart from his art, he is an avid gardener, with a dream of owning his own farm one day, farming the traditional way and restoring the land to its original DNA and planting native grasses and native plants for food and medicine, and has plans of helping larger sections of Aboriginal communities.
He hopes to return to Mt Isa, connect with the country, and visit Palm Island and Mornington Island in search of a connection to his people, the Kalkadoons.
Examples of Sid's work can be seen below: