Harborfields Students Explore the Art Down Under
By Alison DeMaria
Third-grade students of Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School in the Harborfields Central School District recently had an opportunity to learn about Aboriginal culture during a visit from artist Chris Pitkin. Mr. Pitkin, a native Australian, shared with students some aspects of the Australian culture, including the music and art of the Aboriginal people, the first natives of Australia.
“In third grade, our students study communities around the world, including those in Australia,” remarked teacher Christine Brooks. “This visit provided students with a wonderful opportunity to experience firsthand some of the aspects of a culture they would have only had the chance to read about in class.”
As the students learned, the Aborigines do not have a written language. They share their history through art by means of “dot paintings” made from the natural resources of the Red Centre, the vast, arid area of the Outback named for its red sands. They use symbols to develop stories and create music using the didgeridoo, an instrument constructed from a tree that has been hollowed by termites.
After exploring examples, students went on to create their own paintings in the Aboriginal dot style.
Photo above: Third-grade students of Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School in the Harborfields Central School District create Aboriginal “dot paintings” during a visit from Australian artist Chris Pitkin.