Swatch celebrates Aboriginal culture with Nations of Australia WatchTime+Tide
There are approximately 500 different First Nations Peoples in Australia, each with its own rich history, language, customs and artistic tradition. This is a mind-boggling fact little known or appreciated outside of Australia.
Indeed, the cultural heritage of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples is one of the oldest in the world, stretching unbroken for at least 60,000 years to the present day. This is a wondrous thread of human connection through time, which deserves to be celebrated at every opportunity.
With this in mind, I was heartened to see that, for the first time in its history, Swatch is collaborating with an Australian Artist to release a watch that celebrates Aboriginal art and heritage as part of their Swatch X You collection.
Award-winning artist Jodie Freeman (a proud Aboriginal Gamilaroi woman from NSW) has created a painting entitled Nations of Australia especially for this collaboration with Swatch.
According to the artist, this artwork shows dots representing the many unique First Nations communities living in Australia, with the outline of the coast representing ancestors protecting and uniting them all. It is a heartfelt and striking work, imbued with a beautiful spirit.
The Swatch X You system (originally launched in 2017) allows the buyer to create a custom Swatch timepiece for themselves using a design canvas (in this case, Jodie Freeman’s artwork). The buyer moves the outline of the watch over the artwork canvas to choose their preferred design layout; which then gets printed onto the dial and strap. Being able to zoom in and out of the artwork; and rotate the canvas 360 degree means that each watch made will ultimately be truly unique. The colours of the movement components and indices can also be selected by the buyer.
Oh, and they will also even let you make an engraving on the case back at no extra charge. Once the design is completed, the watch will take 10-15 days to be made and dispatched.
Swatch has a long-standing history of collaborating with renowned artists for special editions (this year’s 2021 SWATCH X MOMA series is definitely worth a look); however, this occasion marks the first time the Swiss company has chosen to highlight Australian Aboriginal culture and heritage in one of their watches.
I do hope this is the first of many more Aboriginal art collaborations to come in the future. Rover Thomas, Gloria Petyarre, Minnie Pwerle, Albert Namatjira and scores of other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists await more appreciation by the wider world. Fair dinkum, Swatch – let’s make this happen!
Pricing and availability:
The Jodie Freeman X Swatch watch is available now from the Swatch Australia website, with an RRP AUD$190. You can follow the Artist on Instagram @Jodie_Freeman_Artist; and her work is represented by Bluethumb gallery.