Fender celebrates NAIDOC Week by collaborating with First Nations artists on a pair of awe-inspiring electric guitars

Fender electric guitars
(Image credit: Children's Ground)

Fender has partnered with Australian guitarist Dan Sultan and First Nations artists Otis Carey and Niah McLeod to create a pair of stunning hand-designed electric guitars.

In celebration of NAIDOC Week (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) – which runs from the fourth to the 11th of July – the guitars see Carey and McLeod pay tribute to their heritage with awe-inspiring and intricate artwork.

Carey's design – entitled Gaagal – uses an American Professional II Stratocaster as its canvas, and pays homage to his homeland – now known as Coffs Harbour in New South Wales, Australia. The guitar's name comes from the totem of the Gumbaynggirr people of the region, and translates to “Ocean”.

Set on an American Acoustasonic Stratocaster, McLeod's piece features a gorgeously tactile pattern, and is called Ngudjung Yugarang, which translates to Mother's Heartbeat. It represents McLeod's “artistic journey of connecting to heritage through art and speaks to the lineage of her people”.

Both guitars are up for auction now until 11:59 PM AEST on Sunday, 25 July, with proceeds going towards First Nations nonprofit Children's Ground. The project is Dan Sultan's first as an ambassador for the charity.

According to Children's Ground's website, it “implements long-term, community-driven strategies to redress systemic inequity for First Nations people, addressing issues that perpetuate the cycle of intergenerational poverty and disadvantage including lack of access to eduction and employment opportunities”.

Explains Sultan: “When Fender reached out to me a few months ago about celebrating NAIDOC Week in 2021, I decided to curate an art project with two leading and incredible artists: Yuin Monero and Wandandian woman Niah McLeod and Gumbaynggirr and Bundjalung man Otis Carey, having each of them use a Fender guitar as a canvas.

“[They created] a couple of unique pieces of art we can use to raise much needed funds and, most importantly, awareness for Children's Ground.”

Gaagal and Ngudjung Yugarang currently sit on bids of $3,500 and $3,000, respectively. To learn more, or place a bid, head to Children's Ground.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at GuitarWorld.com from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.