A spe­cial place

Stanthorpe Border Post - - HIBER NATION -

THE word “place” can mean a lo­ca­tion, and it can also hold a deeper mean­ing of giv­ing a sense of be­long­ing and con­nec­tion.

The no­tion of place is ex­plored by artists all over the world, es­pe­cially by our First Na­tions artists.

Think of place as a liv­ing, breath­ing en­vi­ron­ment that holds the sto­ries of its peo­ple. Its soil, rocks and min­er­als are em­bed­ded with his­to­ries and cul­tures, cre­at­ing a con­nec­tion be­tween past and present.

Place is an im­por­tant part of First Na­tions cul­tures all over the world. Ac­knowl­edg­ing the land you are on and its Tra­di­tional Own­ers is some­thing ev­ery­one can take part in.

To­day’s ac­tiv­i­ties are in­spired by the 2013 art­work Minyma Punu Kungkarang­kalpa (Seven Sis­ters Tree Women) (2013) by seven fe­male artists from the Tjanpi Desert Weavers col­lec­tive: Nyur­paya KaikaBur­ton, Ilawanti Ungkutjuru Ken, Nin­ingka Lewis, Mary Katatjuku Pan, Tjunkaya Ta­paya, Car­lene Thomp­son and Yar­itji Young.

The artists live and work in Cen­tral and West­ern desert re­gions.

The art­work tells the story of the Seven Sis­ters, an im­por­tant song­line in the Cen­tral and West­ern deserts in Cen­tral Aus­tralia.

The artists have used nat­u­ral and found ma­te­ri­als to cre­ate large-scale sculp­tures of the Seven Sis­ters who are Tree Women.

“The Seven Sis­ters came from the land it­self, we de­cided that we wanted them to re­sem­ble trees be­cause they are so closely as­so­ci­ated with the land,” the artists have ex­plained.

To get started, have a good look at the art­work on this page and ask your­self these ques­tions:

● What do you think these art­works would feel like to touch?

● Do you know of a story of­ten told or shared in your fam­ily?

CONNECTING WITH PLACE

Now it’s time to grab some art ma­te­ri­als and con­nect with the no­tion of place through the fol­low­ing ac­tiv­i­ties:

PREP TO YEAR 2 CONNECTING TO ONE AN­OTHER THROUGH PLACE

Sit down with a fam­ily mem­ber or friend and think of an im­por­tant place that each of you know. Share your memories of this place with each other and dis­cuss what makes it par­tic­u­larly spe­cial to you both. Now each draw this spe­cial place from mem­ory us­ing a pen­cil and pa­per.

Once you have both done this, take a look at the draw­ings and start connecting them. Can you see any over­lap­ping lines? Can you add lines that go off your pa­per and cre­ate a con­nec­tion to the sec­ond draw­ing?

Once you are happy with how your draw­ings con­nect, add sticky tape on the back so that they stay to­gether. Now add colour to your col­lab­o­ra­tive draw­ing us­ing paints or coloured pen­cils.

Did this ac­tiv­ity make you see your spe­cial place from a dif­fer­ent point of view? Did you re­mem­ber the same things?

YEARS 3-4 A SCULPTURE THAT HOLDS YOUR SPE­CIAL PLACE

Let’s go 3D. Go to a favourite place in your home, a spe­cial place that makes you feel happy and safe.

Take a mo­ment to look at the space. What’s the first thing you no­tice? What does this spe­cial place re­mind you of? Write down three words to de­scribe how you feel in this place, for ex­am­ple: warm, strong, joy­ful.

It’s time to cre­ate a sculpture us­ing these three words. Look around your home for ma­te­ri­als that rep­re­sent the unique el­e­ments of the place. Use these el­e­ments to cre­ate a sculpture. Look for things such as fab­ric, pegs, wire, string or even build­ing blocks. You might want to check with the big per­son in your home be­fore us­ing the ma­te­ri­als you’ve found.

Once you’re happy with the sculpture, whis­per your three spe­cial words to it. Now this sculpture holds your spe­cial place wher­ever it goes.

YEARS 5-6 CONNECTING THROUGH MAPPING

Let’s cre­ate a map from a new per­spec­tive. Ask the big per­son in your house if you can go for a walk through the neigh­bour­hood.

Us­ing a pen­cil and a notepad, write down el­e­ments that you no­tice on the walk which make your neigh­bour­hood spe­cial, for ex­am­ple an in­ter­est­ing tree or a cat bathing in the sun­shine.

When you’re back home, find a nice quiet spot and imag­ine view­ing your neigh­bour­hood from above.

Grab a piece of pa­per and some draw­ing ma­te­ri­als. Cre­ate a bird’seye view draw­ing onto a piece of pa­per, mak­ing a map of your neigh­bour­hood as you re­mem­ber it. You can add colour if you like.

How did it feel to think about and view your neigh­bour­hood from above?

YEARS 7-9 CONNECTING THROUGH SOUND

Let’s use our senses to con­nect to a place. There are many el­e­ments that give us a sense of con­nec­tion to a place, like a fa­mil­iar smell, taste or sound.

Find a quiet spot to sit down, some­where you en­joy and feel re­laxed. It might be in the liv­ing room or on the bal­cony, per­haps out­doors.

Close your eyes. What can you hear? Try and con­cen­trate on each sound separately. Can you name some of the things you hear? Are there fa­mil­iar sounds?

Now find some pa­per and art sup­plies. Us­ing the ma­te­ri­als you have, draw or paint the sounds of your place.

Try to cap­ture what you heard by draw­ing ab­stract lines and shapes to rep­re­sent those sounds. For ex­am­ple, if you heard a bird chirp­ing you could draw the short tweets as a se­ries of lit­tle lines flut­ter­ing across the page.

You will end up with an ab­stract rep­re­sen­ta­tion of your spe­cial place. Show the pic­ture to some­one in your fam­ily and ask them what they see. It will be in­ter­est­ing to hear their in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the art­work. Ask them what sounds they think you have heard.

Tjanpi Desert Weavers is an in­dige­nous so­cial en­ter­prise of the Ngaany­at­jarra Pit­jan­t­jat­jara Yankun­yt­jat­jara (NPY) Women’s Coun­cil. Learn more at: tjanpi.com.au

MCA Aus­tralia’s Kids and Fam­ily pro­grams are sup­ported by The Bal­naves Foun­da­tion. For more free chil­dren’s art ac­tiv­i­ties, visit: mca.com.au

Minyma Punu Kungkarang­kalpa (Seven Sis­ters Tree Women) by Tjanpi Desert Weavers: Nyur­paya Kaika-Bur­ton, Ilawanti Ungkutjuru Ken, Nin­ingka Lewis, Mary Katatjuku Pan, Tjunkaya Ta­paya, Car­lene Thomp­son, Yar­itji Young, 2013. Na­tive grasses (mi­narri and ilp­ing), found fenc­ing wire, aviary mesh, tex­tile, acrylic pil­low stuff­ing, yarn, string, twine, raf­fia, plas­tic bag­ging, feathers, wool, tree branches, foam, pip­ing. Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art.

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