Sarrita King has paintings in major Australian and international art collections. In this article she discusses how she would like to see Aboriginal art explored in schools. She has a message for teachers.
What did you see being taught about Australian indigenous culture at school?
I feel like I was informed but I don’t know whether that was from a school point of view. In Darwin it’s always been multicultural. I’ve got a younger sister who still goes to school now. It seems they’re much more likely to be separated into different groups. Back then you had a friend from everywhere.
There’s a massive Greek community, there’s a lot of Indonesians, Chinese and Japanese. You knew everybody, everyone was friends. Aboriginal people were always around. So for us seeing Aboriginal culture and also going out bush on school holidays, I felt very entrenched.
From a school point of view, I think the most Australian history I was taught was the Captain Cook thing. I don’t remember any Aboriginal history. When it came to Australian history it was all about the explorers and their discoveries. It didn’t stick. It was more drilled into you rather than it being a learning experience. It never captured me, but maybe I wasn’t a good history student.