Aboriginal: Dreamtime Narratives
Christensen, Ann R., School Arts
My interest in brightly colored aboriginal Tjukurpa or dreamtime dot-paintings inspired me to create a lesson for my seventh and eighth grade students. The total lesson took approximately eight forty-five minute class periods to complete. Only a few students who took particular care needed additional time. The lesson consisted of an introduction, which included the vocabulary and history of aboriginal dot-painting, and teaching the dot-painting technique.
1. Learn the location of Australia, its history, culture, and traditions of the aboriginal people;
2. Design a symmetrical aboriginal dreamtime dot-painting using the Tjukurpa or dreamtime symbols to tell a story;
3. Create a symmetrical pattern that depicts rhythm and motion through the use of repetition; and
4. Gain a better understanding of positive and negative space, through the use of the principles of design, repetition, pattern, and rhythm.
* tempera paint (white, black, and primary colors)
* paint pallets
* small paintbrushes
* paper towels
* water containers
* black 8 x 8" (20 x 20 cm) construction paper
* rough draft paper/scrap paper
* construction paper scraps (for practice)
* 9 x 9" (23 x 23 cm) colored construction paper
I began my introduction by posing questions concerning the origin of aboriginal art, the people, and their customs. This discussion led to integrating geography, history, culture, and customs of aboriginal dot painting. My goal was to link their existing knowledge to the new information I was sharing with them.
The class looked at prints of aboriginal art, and I explained that the paintings told a story and were an expression of a special event in the lives of the aboriginal people. Everyone received a key of symbols from the dreamtime dot-paintings. Through the artist's use of symbols, each painting's illustrations told a story that could be deciphered.
I reviewed a few of the key vocabulary words before explaining how to combine the dreamtime symbols in a symmetrical design to create a story. Students worked on designing a rough draft, arranging the dreamtime symbols in a pattern depicting rhythm and motion.
I demonstrated how to use the opposite end of a paintbrush or the tip of a pencil to make the dots on the painting. …