Aboriginal Batik Paintings

 

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UPDATE: Since originally posting this lesson, I have learned much about Cultural Appropriation, and that the use of some of these traditional symbols and designs by non-Aboroginal people can be offensive and insensitive. I am open to learn more about how to incorporate some of these beautiful techniques and ideas into my classroom in a culturally appropriate way, and will welcome feedback from those who have suggestions!

This lesson connects to a unit my 7th graders do on Australia with their social studies class. We watched some videos on Aboriginal art and looked at a lot of contemporary paintings by Aborigine artists. Students combined abstract and animal imagery into a composition in the style of the work they have observed. The concept of storytelling through drawing was explored by some students in the way they combined meaningful and commonly used Aboriginal symbols. We used heavy layers of crayon on brown Kraft paper and then brushed it with black India Ink to create a batik effect. the dots, (which are typical in Aboriginal paintings,) get added at the end with tempera paint. A note on the inking: this is a great and fun technique that can replicate the look of bark paintings and gives everyday brown Kraft paper an antique look. I’ve experimented with dozens of variations of this technique including pre-wetting the paper, rinsing and/or not rinsing, using a sponge, etc… for more details on my most successful technique, feel free to email me at uamsler@masconomet.org

 

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