40 children aged 4 – 5 years old were greeted by MCA Artist Educators Brook, Nicole, Jodie and Cara as they arrived for their very first excursion to the MCA.
With excitement in the air, in anticipation for the program to begin, children, parents and teachers cheerfully followed Brook, Nicole, Jodie and Cara through the Level 1 foyer, up the stairs and into the studio.
During the 60 minute Ngarra Nura Art Escapades program, Artist Educators and the children of Forestville Early Childhood Centre investigated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives, through artworks in the MCA Collection.
During their Gallery exploration, children looked closely at the work of artists Lena Yarinkura, Gordon Bennett, Brook Andrew, Daniel Boyd, Mabel Juli, Barayuwa Mununggurr and the Tjanpi Desert Weavers.
‘Moon!’ ‘Moon on top of a mountain.’ ‘A banana!’ ‘Boomerang on top of a mountain!’
Young children from Our Lady of Good Counsel Early Learning Centre responding to Mabel Juli’s work
MCA Artist Educator Nicole Barakat and her group began by visiting the work of Mabel Juli. Nicole invited everyone to lay on the gallery floor, close their eyes and imagine they were outside at night. ‘What do you see? What can you hear?’ are some of the questions Nicole asked the children. ‘An owl!’ said one child. ‘Trees!’ said another. More responses began to flow, ‘A bush and the moon! A kangaroo bouncing! Frog! LION!’
Nicole then asked the children to sit-up and take time to look closely at Mabel Juli’s work, describing what they could see. ‘Moon!’ ‘Moon on top of a mountain.’ ‘A banana!’ ‘Boomerang on top of a mountain!’
The children were then invited to create a sound piece in response to Mabel Juli’s artwork. Using an iPad, the children made a ‘sounds of the night’ audio clip, in the gallery. Listen to their collaborative sound piece below.
In the Gallery, Artist Educators and children also used found objects to create small ephemeral installations on the floor and experimented with improvised song, dance, performance and storytelling.
Following the Gallery exploration, each group made their way back to the studio to create their own large scale installations. Using mirrors of various shapes and sizes, coloured tape, giant magnets and paper, children created an enormous star constellation on the studio floor. Once all elements of the installation had been carefully curated and put in place by the children, the next step was to light it up! Down came the blinds, off went the studio lights and on came the sparkly glow of mini torches. Each child was given a torch and invited to weave their way through their collaborative installation, illuminating their friend’s creations as they went.
After a wonderful morning of art investigation and creation we were sad to farewell our Forestville friends. Since their visit we have heard from Centre Coordinator Susanna Peterson that the Forestville children and teachers have started using loose parts and found objects to create large group installations in their centre. Teachers have also borrowed story books about visiting museums and the role of artists, to further build on the children’s knowledge and MCA experience.
Thank you for visiting us, children of Our Lady of Good Counsel Early Learning Centre! We look forward to seeing you again soon.
Before coming to the MCA in 2011, Amanda could be found developing and delivering family programs at Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest. In her current role Amanda works with practicing artists to create engaging programs and resources that connect young children with contemporary art, culture and ideas via creative learning strategies that encourage experimentation and collaboration. Amanda was born in Sydney where she has completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Teaching and Graduate Certificate in Art Administration.