Skip to content

Questions and activities

  • Choose one of the works in the exhibition as your focus. Name the colours you can see. Explain how the artist has applied the paint. Is it thick or thin? Describe this place. Notice the texture of the plants and earth. How would it feel to be there? What sounds, smells and feelings would you experience? Are there birds or animals? What is the weather like?
  • Choose two diverse works in the exhibition and select music to match their different moods. Would it be energetic or quiet, happy or sad, loud or soft? Listen to a variety of music including classical and contemporary. Discuss the tempo, rhythm and melody of each different piece. Match a piece of music to each painting and explain your choice.
  • Go on a drawing excursion around your school. Get to know this landscape intimately. Make a series of studies of plants, trees, road signs and buildings. Draw them again and again using different materials. What do you notice about the new way you look at these objects?
  • Paint a landscape you know well from memory. Hold your knowledge of this place in your mind and depict the geography, landmarks, colours, atmosphere and light. Contrast this approach with painting directly from the landscape. Choose a place you love and immerse yourself in the panorama before you. Notice the shifting light, colour, depth of field, breeze and temperature, recording the scene in detail. Compare the two works and evaluate the differing results. Does one method better express your feelings about each place? Explain.
  • Examine Otto Pareroultja’s The hills behind Hermannsburg c1954 and listen to the audio narrated by Hetti Perkins. Describe the formal qualities of the artwork such as perspective, brushwork, composition, colours, linework and sense of space. Find evidence of repetition, rhythm and design in the painting. Perkins describes Pareroultja’s and Albert Namatjira’s paintings as ‘intimate spiritual portraits of their country’. Consider what she might mean by this.
  • Mountains and creeks and springs and water-holes are… not merely interesting or beautiful scenic features… they are the handiwork of ancestors from whom [an Aranda person] has descended… The whole countryside is his living, age-old family tree. Consider this quote from anthropologist TGH Strehlow in J Hardy et al (eds) The heritage of Namatjira: the watercolourists of Central Australia, 1992. Discuss how Otto Pareroultja’s understanding and depiction of country differs from conventional European landscape painting. How may it relate to Western Desert land maps by artists such as Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri?