As indigenous art is a significant and important part of the study of Australian art, I inevitably teach several lessons a year centred around Aboriginal art. I wanted to make sure this year that students are exposed to something other than the Western Desert art movement of 'dot painting' and that they are made aware of more contemporary aboriginal practises and artists.
Therefore, these grade 4 sculptures were inspired by woven sculptures by Tjanpi Central Desert Weavers.
'These are made from desert grass (tjanpi), wool, raffia and found objects. The artists collect the materials and make the work in their traditional homelands. Tjanpi (grass) began as a series of basket-weaving workshops held in 1995. Today women across 18 central desert communities make a spectacular array of quirky and animated sculptural forms as well as magnificent baskets from locally collected grasses. Working with fibre in this way is a fundamental and vital part of contemporary desert culture'.
This information and the accompanying images are from Nomad Art and Tjanpi Desert Weavers. Check out these great websites for more information.
My students were asked to choose any Australian animal for their sculpture. We then built the body, head and limbs from balls of scrunched up newspaper, taped in place with masking tape. I guess you could also paper mache or aluminium foil for the armature. Some used wooden skewers or pipe cleaners for longer thinner body parts.
Once the armature was complete, students tied on a piece of brown string or jute twine and began wrapping their sculpture. More string was tied on and wrapped as needed. This process was then repeated using coloured wool or yarn. Once complete, we glued on beads for eyes and noses.
I will be sad to see these sculptures go home with the kids next week. I think the kids did an amazing job and I've become quite attached to their animals!