A Walmajarri man of the Great Sandy Desert, Western Australia, John Prince Siddon (b. 1964) came to painting later in life. Having spent his younger years working on cattle stations, a horse-riding accident truncated Prince’s life as a stockman and instead led him to Mangkaja Arts in Fitzroy Crossing.

Prince often paints about local and global events, notably the 2020 bush fires on Kangaroo Island in South Australia. His imagery of these incidents is combined with the ancestral stories of his desert homeland to create scenes with patterns and dazzling spectrum of colour. In some instances, Siddon has used elements from his paintings to create a tessellated pattern.

Year 5 and 6 students from Balaklava Campus Horizon Christian School learnt about the life and work of John Prince Siddon. This included watching the AGSA video about the artist, and discussing his works of art with a focus on his piece Fear. Students then drew a creature before adding others, fitting them into the negative shapes. Sharing and discussing jigsaws helped students who grappled with this concept, we also studied tessellations of MC Escher. Students chose to use paint or coloured pencils and texta to complete their works of art. Focusing on shape, pattern and colour, and again influenced by the work of Siddon, students embellished the negative space of their pieces with these art elements.

- Amanda Lockwood, Primary Teacher