Junior phase (Prep to Year 4)

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Pre-visit activities - Exploring mark making and materials

Suggested teaching and learning experiences

Teacher facilitated discussion: Exploring different materials to record information

  • Show the exhibition video to the class: https://youtu.be/xC2wBTu9dj8?list=PLrqonDHggzO9JmGJC6ascVyJD-8ZEhpUk
  • Explain the exhibition to the class
  • What do you think the title ‘Art of the Skins’ means?
  • Before the written word, how did people record stories and/or their histories?
  • What could you use when recording information?
  • What ‘materials’ do you think would be used to create a possum skin cloak?

Suggested learning activities

  • Collect a range of different materials for students to touch, manipulate and draw on.
    Materials can include paper, barks, hardwood and softwoods, fleecy fabrics, wool, canvas and linen, cotton and calicos, stone and rock.
  • Mark making materials may include charcoal, ochre, pencils (different densities HB, 2B, etc), acrylic paints and watercolours. Collect a range of different mark making tools for students to practise using.
  • Explain how ‘mark-making’ is something that humans have done for thousands of years to record their presence in country.

Teacher facilitated discussion: Exploring different mark-making tools

  • What tools work well? Which ones did you like to use?
  • What tools didn’t work well?
  • Were there some tools that worked better than others on certain materials?

Suggested learning activities

  • Students choose their favourite mark-making tool and surface to create a final piece.
  • Students create a picture that has meaning for them.
  • Create a space for student’s work to be displayed.
  • Provide students with an opportunity to explain their artwork and what it means.

Subject learning and focus

Literature and Context
How texts reflect the context of culture and situation in which they are created.

Explore how and why people tell stories about the past.

Design and Technology
Explore ways in which past and present practices enable people to use technologies to interact with one another across cultural boundaries.

Use and experiment with different materials and techniques to make artwork.

Create and display artwork to communicate ideas to an audience.

Recognise that texts are created by authors who tell stories and share experiences that may be similar or different to students’ own experiences

At SLQ activities

Suggested teaching and learning experiences

Exhibition questions and response cards.
Download/print the relevant question cards to prompt discussion and record your group ideas.

Walking into the learning space

  • As you walk into the exhibition space on Level 2, stop at the front entrance and take some time to feel the possum skin that is hanging up at the door.
  • Have students take time to feel both sides - the fur side as well as the skin side.
    ‚óŹ Have the students feel where the marks have been made.

Teacher facilitated discussion

  • What do the two different sides of the skins feel like?
  • What describing words can you use to describe the different sides of the skin?
  • How did artists make marks on the skins? What tools did they use?

Suggested learning activities

  • Have students explore the cloaks in the exhibition, thinking about the kinds of designs that have been applied to the skins - look at shapes, colours, lines and ochre.
  • Ask students if they know the meaning of any of the images or symbols used in the Brisbane River Cloak?
  • Students choose their favourite artwork on the cloak.
  • Teachers assist in finding the artwork on the touch screen and read the story.
  • Ask students to identify as many symbols and images as possible. Ask them what all the artwork has in common.
  • Talk further about Aboriginal connections to country and waterways.
  • Watch the landscape videos projected onto the walls. List the different landscapes that can be seen. What are they? And where do you think they have been filmed?

Subject and learning focus

Aboriginal peoples’ connection to place/country.

Students explain different meanings about an artefact, story or symbol from different times.

Visual Arts
Explore ideas, experiences, observations and imagination to create visual artworks and design, including considering ideas in artworks by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists

Use and experiment with different materials, techniques, technologies and processes to make artworks

Use materials, techniques and processes to explore visual conventions when making artworks

Post visit SLQ activities

Suggested teaching and learning experiences

Teacher facilitated discussion: Skins as a form of communication

  • How do we communicate?
  • How are skins used as a form of communication?
  • How do we record family stories and histories?

Suggested learning activities

  • Using the Art of the Skins Activity Sheet, students create their own designs.
  • Draw an element of nature that reminds you of home. It could be a landscape, a flower, a tree or an animal.
  • Think about how you feel when you visit this place?
  • What shapes, colours and symbols can convey this feeling?

Teacher facilitated discussion: Connection to family and Country

  • Some Aboriginal families in cold climates would create a blanket with a small number of possum pelts (1-3) sewn together. As the child grew older, more pelts would be added and the artwork on the skins would reflect their country, family and community.
    Ask the students to think about having a cloak that told their story. How big do you think your cloak would be now and what would the artwork look like?

Suggested learning activities

  • Show students examples of family histories that are recorded in a visual format.
  • In the kuril dhagun exhibition, artist Carol McGregor has created a skirt from possum tails in the work Sistas!. Create your own wearable art inspired by your family members.
    Take time to design and fabricate items for family member/s. It could be a necklace, earrings, a tie, a cloak, a wristband, etc.
  • Have a day to celebrate their creations. Invite families along and have them wear the items. You might like to have a fashion parade. Have students talk about their work and why they made it for their family member.

Subject and learning focus

Design and Technology
Plan, create and refine a product - share using a collaboration and communication tools.

Create and display artwork to communicate ideas to an audience.

Create literary texts that explore students’ own experiences and imagining

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