Aboriginal Dot 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!

We began this lesson by watching a short video on Aboriginal art and  discussing some reproductions of Aboriginal paintings. Students then sketched  a design in pencil, using the patterns and symbols observed in the Aboriginal art samples as inspiration. The importance of animals and abstract elements, (such as repetitive concentric circles to represent a waterhole,) was noted, as well as the typical use of dots as a design element. Students painted their base colors with tempera paint, utilizing a “hard edged” technique. A second layer of tempera was added to create the dot designs. This interdisciplinary lesson connected with an Aboriginal Land Trial unit that the students were researching in social studies.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Brittney
    May 21, 2021 @ 23:17:49

    Australia’s First Nations people find the work Aboriginie offensive. It’s Aboriginal.


  2. Tania Trusler
    Mar 28, 2022 @ 04:45:57

    Hi, I’m an Australian teacher The most sensitive way to do this is by discussing the work style, symbols used and their meanings then getting the students to come up with their own symbols to tell their own stories. It’s also good to note that ‘dot painting is quite a recent style and is from particular areas as each Aboriginal country has their own style of artwork. If you look at this site you will see there are two online professional development programs that address these issues. https://www.zartart.com.au/zartstatic/static-page-types/term-two-professional-learning-workshop


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