Global Cultures

Nathan Hindmarsh

June 2016

League Legend / Community Worker

How do you pay tribute to someone who has contributed so much on the rugby field and is still doing so much more for the community off the field? In a continued effort to celebrate the people and the communities of New South Wales, ANZ has commissioned artist Stormie Mills to capture Nathan’s indomitable spirit on a mural in the heart of Parramatta. This is part of a series of portraits that will appear across Sydney in the run up to this year’s Archibald Prize, of which ANZ is principal sponsor.

Nathan Hindmarsh

Retired rugby league player Nathan Hindmarsh spent his entire career at the Parramatta Eels. He continues to work tirelessly for the community by focusing on the mental health of young Australians and working to end violence towards women.

Born in Bowral in 1979, Nathan first moved to Parramatta in 1998 when he was drafted to the Parramatta Eels. “My worlds have changed, I came from a small rural town, on a dairy farm, where everyone knew everyone,” Nathan says. He went on to have a stellar career with the Eels, breaking the record for the most games at the club, representing Australia 23 times, and breaking the record for the most tackles in NRL history.

“You just get to a point in your life where you know you can give back.”

Post retirement Nathan has been drawn towards a career helping others. He has been an ambassador for White Ribbon Day, works for NRL One Community, is a spokesperson for ClubSafe, an ambassador for Harmony Day and a NSW PSC Ambassador, amongst other roles. “I don’t know whether it was my upbringing? My parents’ influence? I think you just get to a point in your life where you know you can give back. It’s a no brainer,” he says.

Stormie Mills

Stormie Mills started painting in 1984 and has since then been exploring the human condition through his work taking his iconic characters off the walls in the streets and onto canvas in the gallery. The last five years have seen significant development for Perth-based Stormie who now works full time on his practice, continuing in his pursuit to understand what drives our deepest desires and emotions.

The rugby player’s determination drew Stormie to Nathan. “I know they get knocked down and they’ve gotta get back up and they gotta keep running. It’s an interesting psyche, that tenacity to keep going. Life can be a bit like that for a lot of people, they've gotta keep going. That thing of getting back up and keeping going is really important in terms of our survival but it’s not a physical but a mental thing.”

“A lot of my work is trying to work out that element of the human spirit that’s not about getting beaten, it’s about... keeping going.”

What Stormie finds inspiring about Nathan is his ability to transfer his passion on the field to the causes he supports off the field. “It’s great that he is able to go back to the people that have supported him throughout his career and help make changes to their lives in a very different way. Rather than winning on the field, he is talking to people about how they can do things differently, not allowing things that are bad to continue, by standing up and speaking up about those issues.”

#InspiringLocals: Nathan Hindmarsh Timelapse

Watch rugby league legend Nathan Hindmarsh’s street portrait by Stormie Mills come to life in Parramatta.

The Process

“My process is as much about destruction as it is creation”, says Stormie, who uses a combination of acrylic and dirt, which can be really abrasive on paintbrushes. He uses both spray paint and graffiti remover in his paintings. Working with a restricted palette of black representing dirt, white the attempt to remove dirt, grey as a metaphor for the cityscape & silver for dreams, this palette is an expression of the sense of isolation in Stormie’s work.

This canvas being a massive wall, Stormie has utilised as much of the space as possible to paint Nathan. There are two important perspectives to this work. The point of view from across the road which allows the viewer to see the work as a whole – a mountain of a man. And the point of view along the alleyway as someone walks alongside the work – a mountain of a painting.

The work references the idea of flying and falling. Most people will remember Nathan in all his glory as a celebrated and much loved rugby player but he is only human and we know that there is a more complex side to him. Whether it’s scoring a try on the field or battling a personal issue and using his experience to then help others, the phoenix always rises from its ashes and Nathan has done the same.

ANZ in the community

ANZ is committed to supporting customers, employees, and members of the community who have been affected by domestic violence. Every year on 25 November, ANZ recognises White Ribbon Day, a campaign to end violence against women. In support, White Ribbons are sold at ANZ offices around Australia.  ANZ has taken a number of other measures to aid individuals impacted by domestic violence, including reducing the response time for online hardship assistance applications in Australia from 14 days to one, decreasing uncertainty for vulnerable customers by ensuring faster access to assistance.