Lena Yarinkura is a Kune woman from Buluhkaduru in Maningrida, Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. In the mid-1990s Yarinkura pioneered a new school of fibre sculpture, adapting the techniques she learnt from her mother, Lena Djamarrayku, to construct sculptural work. In recent years, Yarinkura has connected elements of her practice to realise large and complex multimedia installations that contain characters and events drawn from the cultural knowledge and stories shared between her and her husband.
Inspired by Kune artist Lena Yarinkura, year 2 students from Immanuel Primary School created a wall hanging using colour scheme that represented an aspect of the environment. Students began by watching a video of Lena and her partner Bob teaching about the story of Ngalbenbe. The video shows the artist talking in Kune language, as the children are only year 2, I read the translations to them. I explained that Lena and her partner are Aboriginal elders and we need to be very respectful by listening carefully. Even though we are not physically there I feel it is important to teach respectful manners and acknowledge that the elders are story telling a story that has been passed down for generations.
We looked closely at Ngalbenbe by Lena and brainstormed how the artists might have made this work. Students then chose a pre made loom to begin weaving. This skill was an extension of the skill they had learnt a year earlier in Grade 1, when we looked at circular weaving and the Japanese Story of Tanabata.
Students chose a wool colour to match the element of earth they were representing. We brainstormed what each multicoloured wool could represent such as water, rain, desert, tropical rainforest, rainbows, the sun, land and birds.
- Sharon Lynch, Visual Art Specialist, Immanuel Primary School