Overview

Overview

The Discovery Maps are interactive platforms exclusive to Jajoo Warrngara. Students are invited to journey across the land, engaging with each community on Country, exploring the cultural knowledge passed down from generation to generation. Welcoming visitors to Country has always been an important First Nations protocol. A Welcome to Country from each community has been built into the Discovery Maps for viewing prior to exploring the theme-based cultural content shared. 

The Wägilak clan, Pitta Pitta and Bangerang communities have shared cultural knowledges about their traditional and contemporary arts practices. Within the Diversity of Arts Discovery Maps resources, there are compass worksheets which can be used to navigate Country. The compass worksheets include inquiry questions, basic comprehension tasks and extension activities for engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artworks. Students are invited to explore the communities using the compass worksheet – either independently or in small groups – before reporting their findings and interests back to the class in yarning circles. 

In this unit, students explore the First Nations Arts Practices in the Wägilak clan. They witness the intricate arts practice of Wägilak weaving and painting and experiment with the process of botanical dyeing. They create their own unique artworks using natural elements, and explore the origins, techniques, and cultural significance of various First Nations’ art forms with an emphasis on the importance of respectful engagement and cultural continuity. 

Acknowledgement 

At the heart of Jajoo Warrngara are the communities that lead the work on Country. We would like to acknowledge all of the communities contributing to the ‘Diversity of Arts Discovery Maps’ content. These include the Elders, Storytellers, Songmen, and Custodians of the Wägilak clan, and the Pitta Pitta and Bangerang communities. 

Protocols

Tailored Classroom Protocols have been developed in direct conversation with Traditional Custodians. The guides directly relate to cultural knowledge shared by the Wägilak clan, Pitta Pitta, and Bangerang communities. Diversity of Arts Discovery Maps Protocols

Essential Questions 

  • How is traditional knowledge expressed through the art of different First Nations Language groups, Communities, and peoples? Why are intergenerational relationships vital for the preservation of the arts and cultural identity?
  • In what ways can art serve as a bridge between history and today?
  • How does the symbolism and techniques used by contemporary First Nations artists  reflect broader cultural values?
  • Why is it crucial to engage with cultural practices responsibly and respectfully?
Links to Resources

Cultural Protocols

Interact with communities to explore their cultural knowledge and stories.

Teacher Resources

Colour Wheel Worksheet

Unit

The Arts - Weaving and Painting Unit

The Arts – Weaving and Painting Lesson 1

Task 

  • In a yarning circle, facilitate a discussion about the films. Some questions to support this conversation are as follows:
  1. What were your initial thoughts and feelings about the films?
  2. What did you notice about the Welcome?
  3. What did the film teach you about roles in the Wägilak clan?
  4. Why are intergenerational relationships important for preserving culture and identity?
  5. Where else have you seen weaving? In fashion? In household items?
  6. Can you identify different types of cultural weaves? How might we learn about them?
  • Investigate weaving practices from various cultures around the world.
  • Write out the weaving process as an instructional text in your notebooks

Reflection 

  • Reflect on the significance of the films in highlighting the roles within the Wägilak clan  and the importance of intergenerational connections. How has this deepened your understanding of cultural continuity and the passing down of traditions?
Mark as complete

The Arts – Weaving and Painting Lesson 2

Natural dyes and bush string (Yolŋu matha) 

Waking up Indigenous weaving practices | Art Works 

  • Discuss natural dyes, their sources, and the science behind dye absorption.
  • Set up the art space for a colour dying experiment with the following materials: 
  • Distribute the Colour Wheel Weaving and Painting worksheet for students to record their findings.  

Task 

  • Students engage in a hands-on activity involving the boiling of plants like beetroot, spinach, turmeric and other examples listed below. This process will yield colorful liquids that can be used to soak fabrics or as dipping bowls for painting onto paper, card or canvas. 
Colour  Plant
Cream  Parsley
Brown Eucalyptus leaves
Yellow Marigold petals 
Yellowish green Bracken
Orange  Onion Skins, Turmeric powdered roots

Reflection 

  • Evaluate the result of your dyeing process. Did you get the colour you expected?
  • How do you think humans might have discovered that they could use plant pigments to color their bodies, hair, crafts, animal skins, and fabrics?
  • Given the time and effort required to create these colours compared to conventional    methods, how might this result in potentially higher costs of garments dyed with natural colors?
Mark as complete

The Arts – Weaving and Painting Lesson 3

  • Following on from the last lesson, engage with the Diversity of Arts Discovery Interactive Map on Jajoo Warrngara and watch the Wägilak painting film. 
  • Facilitate a conversation about the sustainable art practices of both the Wägilak painting and weaving techniques. 
  • Discuss how many First Nations' arts practices hold profound cultural significance. Consider the multifaceted nature of these pieces, which often function as maps, stories and songlines, carrying intricate meanings, relationships, or sophisticated cultural knowledges. Recognise that First Nations arts practice is the safeguarding of ancient wisdoms and preservation of cultural heritage.
  • Encourage students to collect a number of natural materials such as grass, bark, and plants with natural pigments, and bring them to the art space.

Task

  1. Cultural Note 

Please be respectful of the deep significance of storytelling and patterns in First Nations' artworks. It's important to appreciate and not appropriate styles that hold cultural and spiritual meanings. 

  • Students experiment with grass, bark, and natural pigments to craft their own unique artworks. 
  • Drawing inspiration from First Nations' traditional storytelling through art as  seen in the Wägilak painting film, students explore their own patterns and designs. They will also observe how the size and texture of grass, bark, etc., influence the style of patterns they create. 

Reflection 

  • Reflect on the process of creating artwork using natural elements like grass, bark, and pigments. What was tricky? What was easy? Did you enjoy this task? 
  • Consider the significance these elements bring to your creative journey and the importance of respecting cultural styles.
Mark as complete

The Arts – Weaving and Painting Lesson 4

  • Following on from the last lesson, distribute the Compass Weaving and Painting worksheet.
  • Students are to investigate various forms of First Nations' art and answer the questions on the worksheet.
  • Suggested websites for student research

How Indigenous elders create authentic Aboriginal art | 60 Minutes Australia 

Task

  • Students answer the questions on the Compass Weaving and Painting worksheet based on their understanding from their research and discussions.
  1. Explore the use of cross-hatching as an artistic form within specific First Nations groups in Australia. How do particular groups or individuals employ this technique to convey intricate stories and cultural significance in their artworks?
  2. How do different communities utilise weaving to pass down cultural knowledge and reflect their unique landscapes?
  3. What cultural significance does ochre hold in Aboriginal artworks? How does ochre serve as a connection to the land, ancestors, and spiritual traditions?
  4. Research the controversies surrounding dot painting, including debates about cultural appropriation, commercialisation, and the conflicting theories about the origins of this art form.
  5. Explore the use of patterns and symbols in Aboriginal art. How do these symbols encapsulate ancient wisdom, stories, and spiritual connections within various Aboriginal artworks?
  6. How does art convey messages, histories, and cultural values that transcend language barriers?

Reflection 

  • Reflect on the intricate nature  of First Nations' art forms, including their origins and meanings.
  • Consider how these creations encompass generations of knowledge and heritage, going beyond surface patterns, colours or styles. Knowing what you know now, why might it be disrespectful for a non-indigenous person to create and/or sell a dot painting or other forms of First Nations' artwork? 
Mark as complete

The Arts – Weaving and Painting Lesson 5

  • Following on from the last lesson, students further explore the origin of specific styles and how these are attributed to certain communities in the continent. 
  • It is highly recommended that you reach out to a local Elder or Custodian to see if they can come and share their cultural arts practice and knowledges with the class. 

 

Task

 

  • In pairs, students research a chosen First Nations' artform. They are to record information on historical origin, location, cultural significance, techniques, materials used, and any important symbols. 
  • Using Adobe Fresco (Free for Schools) or similar, students create a multimedia presentation, reporting their findings to the class.

Reflection 

  • Consider similar arts practice traditions in other cultures that are passed down through generations. How do these artistic practices transcend time and space to ensure the continuity of heritage and stories?
Mark as complete

Warning

 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the content on this site may contain images and references to deceased persons.

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