An art and art appreciation lesson that explores Australia's Aboriginal arts.
Where is Australia?
Who are the Aborigines? How did their artwork express thier environment and identity?
Using artworks as primary resources to learn about Australia and Aborigines.
Creating artworks based on the inspirations and methods of Aborigines.
Interpretting meaning from artworks (using artworks as primary resources to learn about cultures or places).
Using line, composition, lighting and other art concepts or elements to interpret students' own environments.
Teacher can measure student comprehension through quality of discussion (specific questions provided below).
Portfolio assessment is available through the extension activity below.
The Aborigines are Australia's original inhabitants, living there for at least 50,000 years. They are hunting and gathering peoples and have developed a detailed knowledge and a great appreciation of their environment, including the plants and animals they depend on for survival. Aborigines feel a deep connection to the natural world, which has shaped every part of their culture. The Aboriginal conceptualization of the natural world has been handed down from generation to generation through the integrated art forms of song, dance, carving, and painting. Art has always played an important role in Aboriginal culture.
.........................Part 1: Picturing Australia through Aborigines' Eyes
Introduce Australia through the eyes of Aborigines. Tell the students a little about the different environments and how we can learn about Australia's peoples and geography through artwork.
On the world map, ask students if anyone knows where Australia is. After pinpointing the continent, show students the Ramingining area, where there are many Aborigines.
Using artworks from The Native Born exhibition,
Lead students in a discussion about the artwork, their derived perceptions of Australia, and how they interpret thier own cultures' art or keepsake (in this case, family photographs).
General questions to motivate observations and personal (or group) interpretation (select one or more images from The Native Born Website):
Questions that extend the process of observing and interpreting:
Questions that lead to reflection on observations:
Artists make choices when they create a painting or sculpture. These choices affect the way we read the image. The following are additional questions to pinpoint these choices.
After considering each of these elements, consider the following:
Part 2: Picturing the Land
This activity will help the student make deductions about the importance of the environment to the artists and their community.
Part 3: Picturing Ourselves
This activity will help students gain an understanding of identity through looking at photographs.
Contact Studio in a School Corporation (http://www.studioinaschool.org) about how your school can become involved in an arts education program. Please note that Studio in a School works with New York City schools, but they provide helpful information on how to establish school artist-in-residence programs.
Author: Nancy Blume.