Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Kids Cafe Art Lecture: Australian Aboriginal Art

I've been a bit MIA from the blog. Personal/Professional life is getting all crazy again. I just started another free online class, this one through Vanderbilt University called Online Gaming: Literature, New Media, and Narrative. As the course overview says, the class is " a multi-genre multimedia tour of how literature, film, and games engage in storytelling. It will also take us to some landmarks of romance literature, the neverending story that lies behind most fantasy games: J.R.R. Tolkein's The Fellowship of the Ring, a bit of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, and poems by Keats, Tennyson, Browning, and others." Anyways, that just sounded really intriguing to me. The course talks about all kinds of gaming, especially online gaming, but focuses in on Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO for short), which I have played twice previously and am playing again now for the course and because it is enjoyable. 

I had an interview for a Librarian I position in my library system on Monday (next step up, would've been my first professional library position as you have to have a Masters to get it). There were three positions available, and I was hoping for one of them, but I was not added to the list for the next interview. Oh well, I will try again when another position opens up. The Youth Services Department getting ready for Summer Programming again and the Summer Reading Program starts in June. As soon as we have some written materials, I'm going to try to do some outreach to a local school and some daycares to get them all excited for it and get more kids enrolled. I'm scheduled to do a summer program on Food Photography, which should be pretty interesting. I think it'll end up being super Macro (up-close) and look something like the following:

On to Kid's Cafe. For my second week of Kids Cafe, we did Australian Aboriginal Art. I knew a little bit about it before I started researching, but honestly didn't know much and it was fascinating to learn facts like they only started using canvas about 40 years ago, and before that it was more of a temporary spiritual art. I was really excited about this program (both the presentation and the activity) and the kids seemed to have fun with it, even though making all those dots was pretty time-consuming. I was rather proud of my art examples that week, even if the program crowd was small. I showed the kids some pics so they could get an idea of what dot painting actually is. I compared them to European examples, like Georges Seurat's 1884 painting A Sunday at La Grande Jatte and then I showed them actual examples of artist-created dot paintings (in part to spark creativity and in part just to give them examples) and ones that kids and adults had done in imitation of this style. My art examples have a brown painted background as that is the traditional background color. Not bad for my first attempt at this style of art, I was rather pleased with myself. 

·         Introduction: Welcome to Kid’s CafĂ©. My name is Miss Rachel and we’re going to learn a little about art. Today we’re going to be talking about the Australian Aboriginal Art
·         Where is Australia? Get globe to show kids
·         Aboriginals is the name for native Australians, kind of like our Native American Indians here in the US
·         Australian Aboriginal Art – made for thousands of years and they continue to be created today
o   Aboriginal Art consists of symbols. Symbols were used in order to show the presence of different things or objects that existed around them.
o   These symbols were used as a means of communication, because they have no written language of their own – to show their customs and rituals and for decoration. These works were almost always ceremonial or religious.
o   The subject matter was based on patterns and animals, and colors used were only ones found in nature; and they used things like bark, rocks, clay, burnt sticks and trees.
o   The background of the paintings are always busy and never blank and feature a dots, patterns, or lines to create movement.
o   Aboriginal art is based on important ancient stories and symbols centered around “The Dreamtime” – which is when they believe the world was created and is at least 50,000 years old.
o   It is only in the last 40 years that canvas and board are being used; before they were scratched on walls, used in body painting or drawn in the sand or dirt.
o   Dot painting came about because the aborigines did not want the white man to understand their secret art, so they covered the symbols with dots
o   Other Aboriginal Art includes bark painting, weaving and sculpture
·         Activities: Creating our own Aboriginal Paintings
o   Supplies: paint, paintbrushes, water cups, Styrofoam/plastic plates for colors, butcher paper for tables, Q-Tips to make dots (very important), paper template (20 total) – could alternatively paint on paper bags to symbolize bark paintings (but really need bigger bags)
o   Take template of animals (kangaroo, snake, gecko, turtle) and paint in aboriginal style, colors are entirely up to kids – usually inside of template is colored in one color, then colored dots added on the outside
o   Show them the two examples I made

George Seurat's The Sunday at La Grande Jatte

Aboriginal Turtle

Tracks or Water Holes

Honey Ant Kids Example

A Mom's Example of Gecko Art

My version of Aboriginal Kangaroo (the J-looking things are Kangaroo tracks)

My version of Aboriginal Gecko (the circles with wavy lines are supposed to be watering holes)

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