• A boomerang is part of a list of new emojis released to developers today. (Apple)Source: Apple
While the designer's first choice of an Aboriginal flag was knocked back, a boomerang emoji is set to hit smartphones in the coming weeks.
By
Shahni Wellington

Source:
NITV News
1 Oct 2020 - 2:06 PM  UPDATED 1 Oct 2020 - 2:08 PM

The boomerang emoji may have been given the green light by Apple earlier this year, but the public has now been given the first glimpse of the emoticon in its finished form. 

To celebrate World Emoji Day, 117 new graphics were listed to hit devices throughout 2020.

Now, the emojis - including the boomerang - have been released to producers, including Twitter, Apple, Samsung and Google.

The boomerang is available now on Android, and is set to join the iPhone emoji suite through the iOS 14.2 update in October. 

It will be part of the universal 'emoji keyboard' that users worldwide can access.

Aboriginal Flag

The boomerang emoji was not the first submission to UniCode to represent Indigenous culture.

Gunai- Kurnai man and co-designer, Justin Stankovic, said the boomerang was plan B after their design of the Aboriginal flag was rejected.

"Basically, originally we approached them and said 'hey, we’re looking at having an Aboriginal flag in the emoji space' and we got knocked back on that and the reason is that the Aboriginal flag isn’t the flag of a sovereign nation," Mr Stankovic told ABC radio.

"At first that took us a bit back because we thought well, the gay rights flag is in there, there’s a pirate flag, there’s a checkered flag, there’s a transgender flag.

"They’re not sovereign nation flags and yet they’re featured - so why can’t we get the Aboriginal one?" he said. 

After back and forth in a process that has taken more than two years, the idea of an Aboriginal mainstream emoji has come to fruition. 

It was argued that the boomerang is an Australian and Aboriginal icon with the hope that other nations from across the world will educate themselves on Aboriginal culture after seeing the emoji.

There is currently a senate inquiry underway into the use of the Aboriginal flag, with a focus on existing copyright and licensing arrangements.

Under current copyright law, Luritja man and flag creator Harold Thomas, has given the exclusive copyright for the Aboriginal flag on clothing, digital and physical media to non-Indigenous company WAM Clothing. 

Indigemojis

While the boomerang emoji is the first to be included on the global mainstream format, it makes up part of the campaign for better Indigenous representation in the digital space.

Last year, custom-made Indigenous emojis, or 'Indigemojis', were developed as part of a new app by young people on Arrernte country, in partnership with Ingeous Studios.

It included 19 emojis such as the Aboriginal flag, boomerang, dingo and Uluru.

Indigenous Studios said it had the permission of Luritja artist Harold Thomas, the owner of the copyright for the Aboriginal flag, to use his design in the emojis.

Emoji workshop playing part in resurgence of traditional language
A pilot program that has been running throughout Summer in Mparntwe-Alice Springs focusses on digital decolonisation and Indigenous empowerment through the development of culturally specific emoji.