TEACHING AND LEARNING
Task 1. Introduce Ngambaa Project
Ask students: ‘What do you know about Aboriginal art and culture?’ ‘What do you expect Aboriginal art to look like?’
Accept all responses and discuss ideas given.
Discuss different forms of Aboriginal art and culture. Look through some of the artist cards in the AGNSW resource Home: Aboriginal art from New South Wales to demonstrate the variety of Aboriginal artists and artworks from the south-east of Australia.
Task 2. What does ‘home’ mean?
Ask students: ‘What does home mean to you?’
Discuss responses and encourage elaboration. Explore the idea that home can refer to places, buildings, people, animals, gardens, internal and external features.
Students sketch ideas related to what home means to them in Visual Art diaries.
Task 3. Appreciating artist Tommy McRae
Display sketches by Tommy McRae including Spearing the kangaroo c1880s–c1890s and discuss what students see and how they make them feel.
Explain Tommy McRae’s story and his history. Consider the following key points:
• McRae was a carver who then applied carving techniques to sketching with pen and ink.
• McRae used short, sharp, layered marks to build on each other and create texture.
• McRae used space to emphasise main subjects in artworks, left out extraneous details, backgrounds etc
• McRae experienced the invasion of Wiradjuri country.
• McRae documented changes in Wiradjuri culture and impact of European invasion, gold rush etc.
• Sketches are important historical documents of this era.
• McRae became an entrepreneur creating and selling artworks to Europeans who wanted to see ‘authentic’ Wiradjuri culture.
View more examples of McRae’s sketches and critique them in terms of the elements of art, subject matter and their impact/importance.
Task 4. Response to Tommy McRae
Revise key points about Tommy McRae’s works:
• McRae documented his home and changing cultural and physical landscape over his lifetime
• McRae worked mostly in monochrome pen and ink sketching
• McRae used short, layered marks to create line and texture similar to carving technique
• McRae utilised positive and negative space to create effects
• McRae created mostly ‘silhouette’ figures
Students use fine point textas of various thicknesses (4mm, 6mm 8mm) to create sketches on white paper depicting important aspects of their lives eg an event, people, places etc.
Allow choice of size of paper and mount on black cardboard.
Task 5. Video Series Murruwaygu: following in the footsteps of our ancestors on AGNSW website
Over several lessons, watch the video series Murruwaygu: following in the footsteps of our ancestors:
• Murruwaygu 1: Following in the footsteps of our ancestors
• Murruwaygu 2: Classical Koori artists
• Murruwaygu 3: 19th century Koori artists
• Murruwaygu 4: Self-taught Koori artists
• Murruwaygu 5: Contemporary Koori artists
Discuss the artworks of Tommy McRae, Roy Kennedy and HJ Wedge in particular.
Compare these artists’ backgrounds and the media and techniques used by each.
Discuss the use of line by carvers such as McRae and consider how such methods of using line to represent stories of personal significance is continuing today.
Task 6: Appreciating artist Roy Kennedy
Revise what students learned about Roy Kennedy from the video Murruwaygu 4: Self-taught Koori artists and watch video interview with Roy Kennedy on AGNSW website.
Look at more images of by Roy Kennedy on the AGNSW website and discuss the following:
• Kennedy depicts images from Police Paddock mission, the mission at Darlington Point near Narrandera, where he grew up and which no longer exists.
• Discuss the nature of mission life, Discuss the fact that during Kennedy’s life Wiradjuri language, art and cultural practices were outlawed.
• Discuss the Stolen Generation and its impact on Aboriginal people.
• Kennedy came to artwork later in life after living a varied and at times difficult life.
• Kennedy uses line in his prints which are black and white.
Task 7. Response to Tommy McRae and Roy Kennedy: line work in clay
Part 1: Introduction to clay work and techniques
Discuss use of clay to complete carving/line activities
Introduce rules and protocols for using clay:
• Importance of listening and watching to learn specific clay techniques
− hatching to join surfaces, sparing use of water to smooth edges,
− not squishing too thin
− taking care to not get clay everywhere
• Discuss using air dry clay rather than firing
• Model how to roll a ball and use thumbs to create a pinch pot and inscribe name on bottom
• Students create free choice 3D form using air dry clay.
Part 2: Linework - Clay Tiles
Introduce students to the concept of carving into clay tile to create image.
Students design artwork in art diary in a square the size of a clay tile to portray their school/family/life/event.
Students use carving tools to carve their design into their clay tile.
Reinforce the need to carve carefully to avoid piercing and/or breaking the tile.
Students leave their tiles to air dry.
Task 8. Appreciating artist Lorraine Connelly-Northey
Display the series of works called Narrbong (string bag) 2007–08 by Lorraine Connolly-Northey.
Ask: what do you see? How does it make you feel?
Discuss Connolly-Northey’s use of materials (pastoral and colonial waste) and subject matter (woven baskets used by women) and the contrast of the two. Consider the idea that her practice communicates a political statement about the enduring nature of Wiradjuri culture and practices.
Display other artworks created by Connolly-Northey and the consider her ongoing use of colonial era or pastoral waste to recreate Indigenous objects.
Task 9. Responding to Lorraine Connolly-Northey: raffia animals, baskets or experimental sculpture
[This task requires some teacher preparation and experimentation in learning some basic weaving techniques and the use of blanket stitch.]
Introduce raffia weaving samples.
Model how to weave blanket stitch. Show several different methods to weave blanket stitch.
Model how to create a raffia animal using a hank of raffia folded over, fastened with rubber bands at each end and then woven over with raffia and/or coloured wool.
Demonstrate the use of decoration with sticks, feathers, gumnuts, beads etc and glue on.
Students can start with an idea or can just start creating and let the shape dictate final outcome.
Allow students who struggle other opportunities eg :
• Wrap wool and/or coloured raffia over sticks to create mobiles
• Loom weaving with cardboard looms
• Create animal shape with wire, wrap over with hessian strips and bind with raffia and/or wool
Display all the finished sculptural works in a class exhibition and discuss.