Naracoorte High School

ABORIGINAL ART MURAL WOWS STUDENTS

Scott Rathman from Rusted Tin Aboriginal Arts arrived at the school and met the first group of students for the day. Students involved ranged from Years 8 to 12.
Scott introduced himself and spoke about his job as an artist. He discussed passion, answered questions and encouraged the students to follow their dreams and not fall into what is expected all the time. Be yourself, be a brave individual and be with people who believe in you and your talents. The students warmed to him quickly with his easy manner, clear communication and sense of humour.

Scott started the practical aspect of the day by asking the group what they knew about line drawings. Early humans communicated with line drawings. Even today we draw a representation of the heart simply with a line drawing. As Scott was talking, he drew a simple heart with a piece of chalk. He asked the students then to start thinking of a list of words that have a connection with Naracoorte. Using the word ‘farm’, he explained that this needed further thinking to become explicit – students brainstormed words like: sheep, cropping, cattle, vineyards, etc. It was interesting to see the application of Literacy in this context. The students were engaged and enjoyed this aspect, finding it an easy way to become inspired for the design of the symbols in the mural.
Students started brainstorming and then chose two words from their list. Meanwhile, Scott explained about the meanings of words – many have more than one meaning, sometimes not so clear.
Many sketches were then produced to represent the students’ brainstorming of words to describe their home town. As students sketched in the sunshine, Scott started painting with gold spray in a series of circles.
As the colours were added many more students came and watched the developing mural.
Staff and students alike were fascinated with the speed in which the design was taking shape.
Mike and Lou Riley, who generously donated funding to initiate the artwork, visited just before morning tea and again in the afternoon to chat to Scott and watch involvement of students and progress with the design.

Written by artist Scott Rathman:

Water as it flows is on a journey from one place to another…Water is on a journey of growth like we are as we engage in our life long journey of learning…It starts as a small stream and grows to its final destination of the wide expanse of the ocean. School is part of the creation of our identity as water was the creator of the caves that lie around and beneath Naracoorte. Water in the mural is represented as flowing from one end of the mural to the other. Reflected on that journey is a symbol that represents a single moment in time and there are many of these represented on the waters journey. The ochre colour is to both reflect the limestone and the meeting of the energy of the earth and the light of the sun which represents both success, encouragement and enthusiasm. Limestone represents purity and centres us to concentrate on positive thoughts while on our journey. The water droplets are significant on this journey as they both represent a beginning and an ending. The symbols represented are a combination of student created symbols to represent their experience with Naracoorte and artist created symbols to signify growth, hope and nurturing.

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