Exploring Aboriginal Art in School Visual Art Programs

It’s exciting to see the new Australian curriculum including more emphasis on indigenous art and culture. We have gathered three resources that explore very different approaches to exploring Aboriginal art in schools within the visual arts program.

The first is the Bush Medicine Lesson Plans developed by primary visual arts teacher Ana Nail for use in primary schools. The second resource is a set of interviews looking at an innovative Year 7 visual arts program at Seton College in Perth. Our third resource is the documentation of an in-school program aimed at increasing attendance by indigenous students in a remote school. There are interviews with the school principal, project co-ordinator and the gallery director who were all involved in the project.

Lesson Plans: Primary School Visual Art Program: Bush Medicine


In this program, students reflect on and draw ideas from the artwork of Utopian artist, Rosemary Petyarre. Students activities explore the shapes, colours and appearance of leaves from local native trees. They explore colour mixing and mark making through painting and collage.

Bush Medicine Visual Arts Program Resources – There are two levels of resources available:

  • Semester Program (11 lessons, Australian and Western Australian middle primary curriculum)
  • Class Reflection (1 lesson Art Reflection – international use)

Read more: Primary School Visual Art Program: Bush Medicine

Secondary School Visual Arts Program: Year 7 Visual Arts Project

In 2016 Seton College ran a project for Year 7 students exploring Aboriginal Art and Culture as part of their Visual Arts program.  Interviews describe the project from the perspective of the co-ordinating teacher and an indigenous artist and educator who was involved in the project.


Read more: Year 7 Visual Arts Project.

School Activity & Exhibition: Remote School Mentors Project

This is a case study of a Visual Arts Project for indigenous high school students designed to promote school attendance as well as facilitate transfer of traditional knowledge and skills. Students worked alongside older mentors from their community to put together a collection of paintings for a dedicated exhibition. The project had a powerful impact on school attendance and confidence in learning across all learning areas.

Read more: