Year 3 students have been inspired by the weaving works of Ngarrindjeri artist Yvonne Koolmatrie who makes both customary utilitarian objects, such as the Eel traps, as well as figurative contemporary sculptures such as fish, turtles, lizards, echidnas, and even a biplane and hot-air balloon. The material for Koolmatrie's weavings grows along the banks of the Murray River. She harvests the materials in a sustainable way by removing the plants one by one; she also knows when and where to find the plants and acknowledges the rhythm of the seasons and life of the river.
The students looked at images of Koolmatrie's work and watched the artist video from the AGSA website. Using a visible thinking routine the students explored how Koolmatrie's process and themes are connected to her Ngarrindjeri culture and Country. Students identified how lighting and presentation of the works of art was significant to the meaning of the piece as well as the traditional and contemporary elements of the work. The video complemented the artwork images greatly as it gave context to Koolmatrie's work. Students saw how important her connection to Country is and were able to visualise the type of landscape and materials involved. Another important aspect of the video was to again see how elements of traditional Ngarrindjeri culture and techniques are combined with contemporary processes.
In response to Koolmatrie's work, students drew a picture of a special place that they had their own connection to and painted a background on their paper plate loom using the imagery and colours from their plan. The wool colours that they chose to weave on top also reflected this special place both physically as well as representing the feelings that students experience when thinking about their special place. - Jessica Hancock, Visual Arts Teacher