2021 Zart Conference Reflection by Korin Lesh

Post by: Korin Lesh
Contact Email: korin.lesh@ntschools.net


September 26, 2021

2021 ZART Conference Reflection and Images

Name: Korin Lesh
School: Millner Primary & Ludmilla Primary


I loved Maree Clarke’s keynote presentation about her artistic practice in Melbourne over the last three decades. During her presentation Maree took us through an artwork journey presenting her artworks from her jewellery maker beginnings, public artworks and recent installation practice. The chronology of her presentation revealed how Maree is such a significant figure in the recovery of southeast Australian Aboriginal art practices as she revives elements of Aboriginal culture that were lost due to colonisation. Her artworks include historical traditional elements such as the use of possum skin cloaks, kangaroo teeth and echidna quill necklaces, kopi mourning caps, and eel traps. These artworks are constructed by Maree with both traditional and contemporary materials including 3D printing, lenticular prints, photographs and glasswork. Her artworks are reflections on the lived reality and ongoing process of colonisation and contemporary aboriginality. In her keynote Maree spoke about her commitment to creating a memory and archive of historical and contemporary Aboriginal Art practices that will live on past her own practice. This interest in intergenerational memory through Art was confronting because of what has been forgotten in such a short period of time in Australia and inspiring because of what her and her family members have been able to revive, reinvigorate and share. Maree Clarke’s artworks are examples of contemporary culture making through art making. In the future I will definitely be referencing Maree Clarke’s art-making and artworks in my Primary Art program when exploring themes about place, culture and change.


Kylie Neagle’s break out session on ‘ATSI Art in the Classroom’ stepped participants through using ATSI artworks as starting points for art making responses. By exploring her text (provided by ZART) ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art in the Classroom’ (Art Gallery of South Australia, 2020) we applied a mind map to reveal possible themes and main ideas of artworks, their relationships to students and possible ways students could respond to the issues – without creating copies of the artist’s work. Kylie’s session and text highlights that ATSI artworks are artworks by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists – and that their art making is not restrained to historical conceptions of Aboriginality.  Kylie wants educators to consider the potential for thoughtful responses to contemporary aboriginal artists and their artmaking. She suggests alternatives to  responding to Aboriginal themes that delve deeper into themes and ideas that simple dot painting responses and clichéd historical imagery often ignores. Kylie highlights that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art is contemporary, dynamic and not just about the past but also possible futures.