Art

Picturing Our Voices, Our Future

Art is a great medium through which to explore this year’s theme and reconciliation.

It has long been used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 
to explore and express ideas, tell stories, and pass on information.

Using art as a vehicle for learning can assist students to investigate social realities, explore complex themes and issues and express their ideas creatively. Below is some information about different types of Aboriginal art and artists, some suggested activities and tips to create artwork entries for this year’s challenge.


Interrogating assumptions

What do you think of when you think of “Aboriginal Art”?

For many, the image that comes to mind is of dot paintings. The truth is, Aboriginal art comes in a range of forms and styles – there is no single “type” of Aboriginal art.

An artwork will look very different depending on where it was made, when it was made, what it is about and the artist themselves.

When we look at an artwork it is always important to think about the artist’s aim when they created it. In other words, “why was this artwork made?” or “what is the artist trying to say?”.

For example, many artworks by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people focus on their relationship with the land and connection to Country. Often when we create art, we are showing something about our own identity and what is important to us.

Indigenous artists today may choose to work in a more traditional or modern style of artmaking.


 

Artist: Zachary Bennett-Brook

My name is Zachary Bennett-Brook and I am a proud Torres Strait Islander man who lives in Wollongong, Dharawal Country, on the South Coast of NSW.

In high school, I discovered my passion to paint the stories and artworks of my culture. My artwork combines my love for surfing and the ocean with my Torres Strait Islander heritage. I create artworks from recycled surf boards and fins, putting a modern twist and my own unique touch on traditional Indigenous Australian art.

Growing up in the Gong I have always been surrounded by the ocean and have been addicted to sliding across the ‘ocean hills’ (what I like to call waves). I am a proud Torres Strait Islander man and we are known as the saltwater people. The ocean has always played a vital role in my life and I often draw inspiration from its blue walls and sandy floors. The colours and shapes of the sea are visible throughout my artworks and highlight my respect for the oceans beauty and power.

I also draw inspiration from other creative people and their artworks. I love to watch people create, and looking at their final pieces always helps me to develop my own ideas. I strive to produce artworks that are of the highest quality and represent my passion for surfing and my Torres Strait Islander heritage. I believe that every artwork that I craft helps me to grow artistically.

Activity 1

Questions

  • What do you like about Zachary’s artworks?
  • What are some of the ways that Zachary represents his love for the ocean throughout his work?
  • Zachary creates his artworks on recycled surfboards and fins, if you could make art on any object what would you choose and why?

 

Artist: Yvonne Koolmatrie

Yvonne Koolmatrie is a Ngarrindjeri woman who is also inspired by the traditions of her culture. As an adult Koolmatrie attended a workshop on traditional methods of harvesting, preparing and weaving Murray River sedge grass.

Koolmatrie found that weaving helped her to overcome personal grief and gave her a portal to tell her story. Koolmatrie
is probably best known for her eel trap weavings. These have aspects
of traditional weaving forms with her own added innovations. She
also depicts her peoples Dreaming stories of Wuluwan (River Bunyiip), Prupi (Child Stealer) and the Rainbow Serpent into woven forms.

Koolmatrie sees weaving as a sustaining part of Ngarrindjeri culture and hopes to keep the practise alive through her work.

Activity 2

Research Yvonne Koolmatrie on the Art Gallery of NSW website and answer the following questions:

Questions

  • Why is it harder to collect sedge grass than it once was?
  • What does Yvonne Koolmatrie think are her responsibilities as a weaver?
  • What is Yvonne Koolmatrie’s process for creating a 
new weaving?

Activity 3

Research one of the following traditions, movements or category of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art.

  • Arnhem Land Styles (including X-ray and Rarrk)
  • Hermannsburg School (watercolours)
  • Kimberly Wandjina
  • Shell Art NSW South Coast
  • North Queensland and Tiwi Island Bark paintings
  • Papunya Tula Art Movement
  • Tjanpi Desert Weavers
  • Utopia Style (including bush medicine leaves and colour blocks)
  • Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander photography
  • Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mixed media art and sculpture

Questions

  • What are the features of this style?
  • How did this style develop?
  • Who are some of the well-known artists of this style?
  • Find an example of an artwork in this style that you like. What about it appeals to you?

Activity 4

Create your SRC artwork

Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Explore the 2017 gallery of past winners to get inspiration for creating your own artwork.
  • Have a think about your previous experiences creating art. What are your favourite methods?
  • What do you like to use (pencils, crayons, collage, paint etc.)? You might like to try blending a few styles together.
  • Create an artwork that explores the theme Our Voices, Our Future. Think about the different ways that you can interpret, understand and creatively express this theme. Share your voice and why you think it is important to listen to the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • Think carefully about the medium, colours, designs and symbols you want to use to creatively express your understanding of the theme Our Voices, Our Future In your artist statement, share with us about your artwork and explain why you chose to creatively express your ideas in the way that you did.
  • Use your own ideas to create your artwork. Make sure it represents the theme Our Voices, Our Future and explores reconciliation in Australia.

Remember to

Complete an Artist Statement found inside the Art Entry Form and submit your artwork by Friday 21 September 2018!

Find out how here.

Teachers Click Here

This Kit was developed in consultation with the Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES) to ensure that the competition meets NSW curriculum outcomes for Stages 3 & 4.

Enter by 28 September 2018

Submit Here