The reworking of significant historical works is a potent artistic tool for commentary on Australia’s history, past and present.
|Scooped by Tamara Farrell|
This website is a fantastic resource for both teachers and students. Daniel Boyd, an Indigenous artist presents his recreation of the famous Phillip Fox artwork The Landing of Captain Cook at Botany Bay, 1770. The artwork We Call them Pirates out here, 2006 demonstrates the Aboriginal perspective of Captain Cook landing in Botany Bay. According to the Queensland governments’ document Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in schools…
“Weaving the Indigenous story into the fabric of education through teaching about Indigenous cultures and perspectives in schools has been identified nationally as key to improving outcomes for Indigenous peoples… [it] will enhance the educational experiences of non-Indigenous students as well… [by giving] them a more accurate and richer understanding of Australia’s history and culture, it will help them to understand how we got to where we are today; and how we might move forward together.” (pp.9)
Due to the importance of embedding Aboriginal perspectives, I would use this resource within a sequence of lessons exploring the Aboriginal Perspectives of Captain Cook’s invasion, as it requires an extensive amount of knowledge to understand the differences.
Before the lesson, the teacher can use the website to become familiar with the artwork and the artists intentions in changing certain aspects and leaving others the same. There is a video that teachers can view (or even show part of it to the class) where the artist discusses his intentions behind his work. As a class, students play a game of ‘spot the difference’ between the original artwork and Daniel Boyd’s artwork (using printed versions or on IWB). The teacher uses prompting and questioning to help the student understand what the artist is trying to say: e.g. what do you know about pirates? What are they like? Why do you think the artist chose to represent Captain Cook in this way?
Some of the content may be too difficult for a stage 2 classroom, so the teacher may need to alter the amount of scaffolding according to the needs of the learners. E.g. teacher could separate students into groups to discuss a certain aspect of the painting and come back together as a class to discuss what is found OR the lesson could be a whole class discussion. This collaborative learning is essential when students are tackling challenging content and it is a key to Vygotsky's zone of proximal development theory (Vygotsky, 1978).
As this activity requires a lot of pre-existing knowledge regarding the events of Captain Cook’s voyage and how the Aboriginal people felt, it would be positioned towards the end of a unit and the teacher can use this activity as a form of formative assessment. Furthermore, this resource is exceptional in exploring other KLA’s such as creative arts and English. The ability to decode visual texts for meaning is essential in English and creative arts and thus could be used in conjunction with each other.
Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in schools A guide for school learning communities.. (2011). Brisbane, Qld.: Dept. of Education and Training.
Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in Society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, Chapter 4.