Last Friday, our art class ventured to North Stradbroke Island to immerse ourselves in the practices, culture, and history of the land. As a collective, we met with artist Delvene Cockatoo Collins who educated us on her practices and told us of her personal connections to land and art.
Relationships, ancestral backgrounds and tradition are all characteristics Collins incorporates into her work. She taught us the importance of knowing our roots and the backstories of the lands we walk on today. Activities such as twine making allowed us as students to learn a skill that could be considered as ‘life-saving’. As she told us, “once you have twine, you can have a net, once you have a net, you can catch a fish and build a shelter.”
I believe that each of us left that island with something to reflect on. The fact that we could transfer a rock (ochre) to create colour on paper or learnt how the past can shape our current surroundings. We will apply our understanding to our own works to capture a new viewpoint of Stradbroke.
Everything we saw on that day was a piece of a puzzle that came together to create a final image of what Stradbroke is to us, and to Australia. My gratitude extends to both the Art staff (Mrs Chaplin, Ms Boyle and Mr Leegwater), fellow students, and Delvene Cockatoo Collins for a most rewarding experience.
Incoming Arts Ambassador for 2021