I was lucky enough to be a part of a group of Art teachers who met Jungala Kriss and Carroll Karpany at the Zart Art Understanding Culture workshop last week. I’ve wanted to focus on Indigenous Culture in my classroom for years, but never had the confidence to, due to lack of knowledge and understanding.
What’s a Song line? According to Jungala, it’s one of the paths across the land which mark the route followed by local ‘creator-beings’ during the Dreaming. The paths of the song lines are recorded through traditional songs, stories, dance, and painting.
By singing their part of the song line, Indigenous people could navigate vast distances, often travelling through the deserts of Australia. Australia has an extensive system of song lines, some of which are of a few kilometres, whilst others span hundreds of kilometres through lands of many different Indigenous peoples — peoples who may speak different languages and have different cultural traditions.
Thanks to my day with Jungala and Carroll, I now understand enough to bring at least, a very small part of our Australian history into my class. Through creating topographical maps of our local area, we created our very own visual song line of the land on which we live.
I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences of the day with my students through a unit of work on Indigenous Australian Song lines and Topographical maps. Of all the ideas I had planned for my students in the future, I now feel this one is the most important.
A big thank you to Zart Art for creating this fantastic opportunity. It’s one that I know I’ll remember for years to come. And such an important one.