Incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art into your classroom in a culturally appropriate way

Art is the ideal platform to explore our shared histories, cultures and achievements and provides an opportunity to reflect on how we can contribute to reconciliation in Australia.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art is diverse. Therefore, if you are only ever highlighting one art form, such as bark painting or dot painting, you are placing limitations on your students' cultural awareness and understanding. We suggest considering the following when planning your lessons:

  • Highlight and focus on a specific artist, time and place.
  • Explore differing viewpoints through a variety of artists, including those who are contemporary and those from the past.
  • Identity the main themes or ideas in the artist's work. How could these concepts connect with your students? Plan for children to respond to these themes and ideas without creating copies of the artist's work. Use our 'using artists as a starting point flowchart' to help you plan your lessons.

Tarnanthi 2020: Open Hands

Videos, podcasts and making and responding ideas for the classroom

Publication for purchase

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art in the Classroom

Trevor Nickolls, Ngarrindjeri people, South Australia, born 8 June 1949, Adelaide, died 29 September 2012, Adelaide, Brush with the Lore, 2010, Adelaide, synthetic polymer paint on linen, 119.5 x 182.5 x 2.0 cm; Acquisition through Tarnanthi: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art supported by BHP 2018, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Estate of Trevor Nickolls/Copyright Agency.

The Essential Introduction to Aboriginal Art

25 Facts

Gutiŋarra Yunupiŋu with his work Gurruṯu’mi Mala (My Connections), Tarnanthi 2019, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide,; photo: Saul Steed.

Artist videos and podcasts

Bring the artist into the classroom with these short videos and talks

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