In this together

National Reconciliation week is the perfect time to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. 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.

With our wide range of online resources and videos, why not introduce your students to a different artist each day or check out our suggestions for classroom activities below that can easily be integrated into your teaching and learning programs to promote cultural understanding.

Remember

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.

For more ideas and suggestions see our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art in the Classroom publication.

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

Meet the artist

Introduce your students to a different artist each day

Trudy Inkamala, Western Arrernte/Luritja people, Northern Territory, born 1940, Hamilton Downs Station, Northern Territory, Roxanne Petrick, Eastern Arrernte/Alyawarr people, Northern Territory, born 1986, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Dulcie Raggett, Luritja people, Northern Territory, born 1970, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Marlene Rubuntja, Western Arrernte/Arrernte people, Northern Territory, born 1961, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Rosabella Ryder, Arrernte people, Northern Territory, born 1975, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Dulcie Sharpe, Luritja/Arrernte people, Northern Territory, born 1957, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Rhonda Sharpe, Luritja people, Northern Territory, born 1977, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Roxanne Sharpe, Luritja people, Northern Territory, born 1985, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Valerie Stafford, Anmatyerre people, Northern Territory, born 1963, Coniston Station, Northern Territory, Every face has a story, every story has a face: Kulila!, 2016, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, mixed media, dyed blankets, polyester wadding, embroidery thread, twigs, 228.0 x 120.0 x 100.0 cm (overall); Acquisition through Tarnanthi: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art supported by BHP 2017 , Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Yarrenyty Arltere Artists.

Yarrenyty Arltere artists

Make your own soft sculpture self portraits

Brian Robinson with his work Empyreal: A Place and a Path in the Sky and on the Earth, Tarnanthi 2019, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide,; photo: Saul Steed.

Pattern and pop culture with Brian Robinson

Create a drawing using patterns and pop culture

Trevor Nickolls, Ngarrindjeri people, South Australia, born 8 /06/1949, Adelaide, South Australia, died 2012, Adelaide, South Australia, Brush with the Lore, 2010, Adelaide, synthetic polymer paint on linen, 119.5 x 182.5 cm; Acquisition through Tarnanthi: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art supported by BHP 2018, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, © Estate of Trevor Nickolls/Copyright Agency.

25 essential facts about Aboriginal art

Discuss some of the misinformation about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art with your students

Photo: Art Gallery of South Australia; photo: Saul Steed.

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander art resources

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

Talk by curator Nici Cumpston featuring work by Papunya Tula artists.

Reconciliation week talks

Hear from curators about works of art in the collection

AGSA’s education programs are supported by the Government of South Australia through the Department for Education.

Tarnanthi is presented in partnership with BHP and with the support of the Government of South Australia.

Principal Partner
  • BHP