Thursday, March 3, 2011

LE: Aboriginal Dot Painting

Lower Elementary students are studying different cultures around the world. Artist and traveler, Brendan Burns, visited the class and shared about his experience in Australia and how he fell in love with the didgeridoo. Didgeridoos are hollow wooden wind instruments carved by indigenous people of Northern Australia and often decorated with dot painting. To prepare students for this visit, I had them learn about Aboriginal Dot Painting. There is a lot of mystery behind the precise meanings of these paintings because clans imparted secrets into them; the dots cover up the secrets about the location of water holes and sacred ceremonies only revealed to the people in the clan. Aboriginal Dot paintings also have an underlying reference to the Dreamtime or the Dreaming, a sacred and complex set of beliefs of how the earth and all of its creation came to be. We chose to draw a lizard since it is an Australian animal prevalent in many dot paintings along with water holes, which you need for survival in the desert. Using q-tips and paint, students applied dots along the contour of the objects. Having Brendan show us the didgeridoos with the beautiful dot paintings on them really completed this lesson for the students. I could hear their brains click! I also included photos of Brendan playing the digeridoo and students dancing along to its deep resonant sounds. Thank you Brendan!!

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