Rainbow Serpent, Aboriginal Australia

Arts & Activities, September 2012 | Go to article overview

Rainbow Serpent, Aboriginal Australia


PRIMARY

Read the myth of the Rainbow Serpent to your students, found at www.astronomy.pomona.edu/archeo/australia/jennifer.sumner.aborigines/ MYTH1.HTM. After the reading, ask students to recall elements of the story and some of the animals and elements of nature identified in the myth (snake, frogs, rivers, lakes, mountains).

Explain to students that the artist used dots and lines to create the forms they see in the Art Print. Point out that the concentric circles behind the snakes, represent watering holes. Ask students to think of simple symbols to represent elements of the story (a zigzag line for mountains, a leaf for trees or plants, and so on).

After the group has created a selection of symbols, give students drawing paper and time to create a work of art featuring the Rainbow Serpent and incorporating some of the symbols generated by the class.

ELEMENTARY

Read the myth of the Rainbow Serpent to your students, found at www.astronomy.pomona.edu/archeo/australia/jennifer.sumner.aborigines/ MYTH1.HTM. Point out that the artist used small dots to create the composition, as well as colors to signify aspects of the land (blue for water; earth tones for sand, soil, rock).

Place students into pairs. Challenge each pair to design an original Rainbow Serpent art work that depicts one element of the myth. After students have decided on a composition, direct them to lay in color using the dotting technique seen in the Art Print. Give students time to present their work to the class. Display all finished work alongside the Art Print.

MIDDLE SCHOOL

Share the Art Print with students, explaining that the work depicts an important myth in the Australian Aboriginal culture.

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