The story behind the artwork


The story behind the artwork

Yiradu Marang.

My name is Dylan Pietsch, a proud Wiradjuri Burray from Narrungdera country NSW. I am also an artist and a rugby player.

Connection, Unity, Community 

This piece of artwork tells a story of connection; my strong connection to our culture inspired by my mob and special connection to Country, the many forms of connection within Australia through its people and landscapes and the powerful opportunity for my sport to create new connections by welcoming and building fresh communities through a common purpose.


For the main body of the artwork, I’ve used the most recognisable style of Indigenous art: dot painting, which has its roots in ancient Australian traditions. The stories told through dot painting are thousands of years old and are passed down through generations. I’ve been painting using this technique since I was very young and for me is a powerful way to express my own identity, spirituality, and connection to Country.


The backdrop to the artwork is made up of a collection of distinct and intricate patterns that portray the natural landscapes of Australia.

I wanted to celebrate the beauty and diversity of Australia and show the deep bond I have with my Country. I’ve created different patterns to describe some of the physical aspects of our landscape; trees, forests, flood plains, the sea and rivers.

The river was really important to include: it is a symbol of physical connection and a significant spiritual element of Aboriginal Dreamtime. Our lives revolve around rivers; how we respect the river and how the river provides for us.

The rainbow serpent holds a central place in Aboriginal Dreamtime stories as creator of the river system that enabled us and other animals to flourish.

Lion and the Wallaby

The centre of the artwork features a Wallaby and Lion. This is a direct reference to the Lions Series.

It was important to place the animals at the exact same level – you can kind of see that they are running at each other. Their relationship is presented as a battle but underpinned by respect; respect for our game and respect for each other. In traditional Aboriginal painting, animals are presented with their internal organs omitted. This shows the respect that we have for the animals.

Connection Circles

The seven ‘connection circles’ represent the coming together of communities to a special or important place – in our history it symbolises a family meeting at a waterhole, campsite or spiritual place. In this piece, it represents diverse groups of people from across the world coming to Australia and connecting through sport.

The six smaller circles represent the cities that will be visited during the Lions Series in 2025.

The larger connection circle represents Australia and its wider community. Each circle is connected through a continuous pathway, binding everyone together.

To close, I am grateful for the opportunity to represent myself and my culture in communicating this fantastic event in Australia. I can’t wait to see it in use.

Mandaang Guwu

Thank you

Aboriginal country

Typically refers to the traditional lands and territories that Indigenous Australian peoples have inhabited and maintained for thousands of years. These lands hold profound cultural, spiritual, and historical significance. The concept of “country” extends beyond mere geographical boundaries; it encompasses the interconnectedness between the land, its inhabitants, and their cultural identity. Aboriginal people have a deep spiritual and cultural connection to their ancestral lands, which are integral to their identity, lore, and social structures. Acknowledging and respecting Aboriginal country is an essential aspect of reconciliation efforts in Australia.

The Aboriginal Dreamtime

Also referred to as the Dreaming or Dreaming Time, is a fundamental concept in the belief systems and cosmology of Indigenous Australian peoples. It encompasses the spiritual, cultural, and ancestral framework that underpins Aboriginal societies and their understanding of the world.

In the Dreamtime, ancestral beings, often depicted as animal spirits or supernatural entities, roamed the earth, shaping the landscape, creating natural features such as mountains, rivers, and lakes, and establishing the laws, customs, and traditions that govern Aboriginal life. Dreamtime stories vary among different Indigenous groups, reflecting their unique cultures, languages, and histories.

These Dreamtime narratives serve various purposes, including teaching moral lessons, explaining natural phenomena, passing down knowledge and wisdom from generation to generation, and reinforcing social cohesion within Aboriginal communities. Dreaming stories are conveyed through oral traditions, art, dance, song, and rituals, all of which are integral to the transmission and preservation of Aboriginal culture.

The Dreamtime is not merely a mythological past; it is a living, dynamic spiritual reality that continues to inform Aboriginal identity, worldview, and connection to the land. It emphasizes the interconnectedness of all things—humans, animals, plants, and the environment—and underscores the importance of respecting and preserving the natural world”.

For the upcoming Tour of Australia, The British & Irish Lions and Rugby Australia worked with rugby player and artist Dylan Pietsch on designing an artwork for the Tour. Here, Dylan tells the story behind the art.

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