Photographer Lyndal Irons. Pic courtesy of Lyndal Irons

All sporting codes and teams have fans, but none are quite as passionate, vocal, and supportive as Panthers fans.

In a cultural project celebrating fandom, Penrith Regional Gallery has engaged celebrated photographer – and Panthers fan – Lyndal Irons – to capture images and stories from in and around Penrith, of people wearing their Panther-filled hearts on their sleeves, their cars, their faces, their homes, their businesses, their streets, perhaps even their pets. 

The portraits will be displayed – after 30 October – on the windows of the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, which has a long history of Panthers support, from winning the memorabilia display competition; to hosting the Panthers Civic Reception post their 1991 victory. The artwork will replace a set of vinyl posters now obsolete with the COVID-enforced cancellation of most of The Joan’s 2020 season. Donations from patrons wishing to show support for artists during the COVID-19 challenges have been used to commission the photographer for this project. 

A previous Penrith resident, and avid NRL fan, Lyndal Irons is a photographer and writer who seeks out the unexpected yet familiar parts of Australian society. Her work encourages curiosity and a deeper connection to the everyday, in this project exploring deeply held passions and connections, as well as personal creative expression.

Panthers fans are being called upon to get involved in the project. The project team is interested in photographing fans and their treasures; learning the stories behind them; documenting the unfolding of work-in-progress as fans decorate, gather, plan, and prepare. Photography will be done before, during and after matches.

“As a sports club and home to the Penrith Panthers, we are surrounded by “Panther Pride.” It makes us proud to see the passion for the sport, and the team is reverberated out into the Penrith community. This pride can be seen in local businesses and different generations in families throughout the local community, and we look forward to seeing how this is captured in the project from Lyndal Irons from Penrith Performing & Visual Arts.” – Jason Stone, General Manager, Panthers Penrith Rugby League Club

The portraits will be displayed for the community in celebration of this pivotal moment – whatever the result.

Featured image : 2020 NRL Round PF – Penrith Panthers v South Sydney Rabbitohs, ANZ Stadium, 2020-10-17. Digital image by Grant Trouville ÔøΩ NRL Photos