Freestyle Football freestyle football. Our side of things.

Published on September 9th, 2023 | by Daniel Boyle


Our Side of Things – A Freestyle Football Exhibition

Our Side of Things was an art exhibition focusing on freestyle football in Tasmania. We caught up with Jay Hennicke to see what it was all about.


‘Our Side of Things’ Q&A – Jay Hennicke


You’ve just had the “Our Side of Things” exhibition in Hobart – how did it go overall?


The exhibition was very successful I would say! Feras and I received a large amount of positive feedback about the event from the athletes, the audience, and Contemporary Art Tasmania (CAT). On this basis, I don’t think it could have gone much better.


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Where did the idea come from? Was the gallery enthusiastic from the start?


The idea to run the exhibition stemmed from my wanting to host a competition. Originally, I approached Feras over a coffee in January to see if he would be keen to help host a freestyle football competition. He told me he might have a space we could do it (being CAT as he just got a residency there). Soon after, he spoke with the Directors of CAT and they were enthusiastic from the start about the idea even though it was uncharted territory. However, for funding they required that the competition had to be part of a broader exhibition. Feras then told me he’d only do it if I was all in. Of course, I was all in. So, it went from there!


You’ve just come back from Superball – how did you see your competitive results?


Yes, I only recently arrived back from Superball. This year I attained a spot in the Top 16 just as I did last year. But I wasn’t pleased with my performance at a personal level I want to go further.

This was the opportunity for some of the players to also show their artistic side as part of the exhibition – what were some of the highlights in that area?


Absolutely. We saw a great blend between styles at the exhibition. Judges were not confined to criteria and the players had a free time limit to show their style in their own way. I would say the players each did this to the best of their ability which was great to see. I love to see creativity and artistry rewarded in a battle setting.


There are a number of new players steadily improving – how do you see the Australian scene at the moment?


There are a number of new players steadily improving for sure. I’m very excited about their improvement respectively and I believe in a few years we will have multiple players at a world class level – and importantly, they will reach that level in their own way. I would say in Australia although we are a relatively small community, there is high quality. Everyone appreciates originality and there is a real sense of community. Because of this, I think there is a great supportive environment that will nurture competitive success.


How did you find the collaborative process of setting up the exhibition? Was there anything that didn’t quite go to plan?


I found the collaborative process to be smooth for the most part. Feras and I worked at different paces which was at times difficult. However, our contemporaneous goal of hosting a successful exhibition made everything go to plan I would say.


You had Tobias Becs out for the event – how did he enjoy the occasion?


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A post shared by Tobias Becs (@tobiasfreestyle)

Tobias told me after the event that he enjoyed the experience and that he was impressed with the space we created. Tobias’ contributions to the event were invaluable. The Australian freestylers in particular got a lot out of him being there I would say.


Have there been any similar events in galleries that you based this on? What were your influences when preparing for the event?


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To my knowledge, this was the first event of its kind – that is, an art exhibition specifically focused on highlighting the freestyle football culture. Feras and I essentially used our shared experience to prepare the event from scratch.


It seems this could be imported into any gallery in the world? Any plans for further exhibitions? Anywhere you see being a great fit?


I would tend to agree that this concept could be imported into any gallery in the world. Currently, I am back focusing on competitive freestyle, but I absolutely intend to host another similar event in the future seeing all of the positivity it generated!


What was the feedback from the general public just visiting the gallery and coming across freestyle?


The feedback from the general public was only positive about freestyle. Spectators of the competition said broadly that the energy and interaction in the battles was very exciting, and others coming through the gallery seems to be interested more in the nuance of the movement and culture. It made me very happy to see that level of interested expressed.


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A post shared by Jay (@jayhennicke)

Anything else to add or anyone to thank?


I would just like to thank the Australian freestylers for making the event what it was. It wouldn’t have been the same! The exhibition was meant for the community over anything else. I felt fulfilled after it wrapped up knowing that I helped to further the Australian freestyle football community. I’m just grateful to be a part of such a great community and to have given back to that community.



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About the Author

Founder of @sportslashlife. Australian living in Chile. Freestyle footbag player and passionate sports fan.

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