For Children / For Schools / First Nations

Pilbili brings the voice of children to TARNANTHI

Pilbili is a Ngarrindjeri word for the sedge used for weaving

On Friday 23 October 2015 a group of children aged 8-12 years from Hampstead Primary School walked through the survey exhibition of master Ngarrindjeri weaver Yvonne Koolmatrie, listening to an audio guided tour that they developed, wrote and recorded. Riverland: Yvonne Koolmatrie, at the Art Gallery of South Australia, was part of TARNANTHI the inaugural Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art.

Pilbili was a child-led collaboration between Lee-Ann Buckskin and Associates, Carclew, Hampstead Primary School and the Art Gallery of South Australia. Twenty-two children from Hampstead Primary School had the unique opportunity to learn about Ngarrindjeri culture and arts through Riverland: Yvonne Koolmatrie. Their thoughts and perspectives on the work was translated to an audio tour for visitors to the exhibition. This tour is available on iPods at the Art Gallery’s information desk and is free to all visitors.

TARNANTHI Artistic Director, Nici Cumpston, said “This is a wonderful opportunity to hear about the artist and her work from the perspective of children. An important aspect of Pilbili is the opportunity to learn and experience Ngarrindjeri culture first hand from the artist.”

In the lead up to TARNANTHI, children were introduced to traditional culture and weaving practices with Ngarrindjeri Elders, including Major Sumner, in a series of workshops. They then interviewed Yvonne Koolmatrie about her work, gaining insights such as how the traditional and contemporary forms she makes have become highly-valued works of art collected by private and public galleries and museums all over the world.

The children participated in a weaving workshop with Yvonne Koolmatrie where she shared her love of weaving and explained the importance of continuing this important cultural tradition. Learning about Ngarrindjeri weaving also provided the children with cultural awareness, as well as an introduction to the importance of the Riverland and the environmental and sustainable practices Ngarrindjeri have always undertaken to look after this vital resource.

Students also engaged in a workshop with Art Gallery of South Australia volunteer guides, learning the basic principles of guiding people through an art exhibition.

To view the Pilbili audio tour click here:

To view a feature story which aired on Behind The News, ABC3 click here:
http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/behind-the-news/NE1558S013S00 (story begins at 14:40)

Banner image: a hand holding a traditional weaving in front of a dot painting