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Reconciliation Art Activity

First Nations Connections
At Home Activity – The Hermannsburg Artists

In the subject of Visual Arts, we have been looking at the work of the Hermannsburg Potters recently and how they capture Western Aranda Culture and Country in their subject matter. This lesson is an opportunity to become involved and start a discussion around sustainability and country – an important topic for the Western Aranda people and understanding the part reconciliation can play in that.


Think about the significance of country to the Western Aranda people and how they have painted special places such as the MacDonnell ranges for generations. Discuss the impact of commercial development and colonialisation on Western Aranda country – in particular corporate consumerism and the ensuing environmental impact of that on the land.



  • Look around your local area for fast food / corporate branded packaging or materials.
  • Identify any patterns or shapes on your packaging that might be reminiscent of natural shapes e.g. the shape of an ‘M’ might look like a mountain.
  • Next, strategically blank out parts of your packaging to create a white canvas for your artwork. You can do this using gesso primer for most materials.
  • Now use those shapes to create a landscape painting of your local environment. Start by sectioning up the blank space into thirds to create a background, middle ground and foreground. 
  • Remember objects that are smaller will appear further away and will be lighter. These will be in the background – continue with this until you complete the foreground.
  • Try to create a focal point in the foreground by emphaising something of interest such as a tree, flowers or animals, working up your details layer by layer.



What contrasts can you see between the intended message of the packaging and your painting of your environment?

How do you think these fast foods and packaging might affect the traditional culture, health and ways of the Western Aranda peoples?

Thank you to Ms Katrina Banyai for providing this activity.

Acknowledgement of Country

St Mary of the Cross MacKillop made the statement: “We are but travellers here, so while we are here we should do as much good as we can and live in peace with each other.”

With this is mind, the College respectfully acknowledges the Ngunnawal people who are the Traditional Custodians and First People of the land on which we gather each day. The College also pays its respects to the Elders past, present and emerging, and any other Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples living and working in the MacKillop community.

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