Year 7 Class Activities 3a

Year 7 students will look at the idea of motif as signs and symbols. Making students aware of the importance of objects within any artworks mean something, therefore translating the idea of artist intentions to meaningful artworks made to communicate to any audience or the world.

Students will look at artist model Symrn Gill – Road Kill 1999-2000, The Chair and the Pipe Vincent Van Gogh 1888 etc. Students will learn to transition artist models to framework questions. For example: 
  1. What is your personal response to the installation sculpture?
  2. Why has the artist included wheels?
  3. What makes the artwork unique?
  4. Describe how the artist presented the artwork and explaining why?
  5. How has the artist through their artwork made a comment on society?
  6. What part of the artwork stands out for you? Explain why?
  7. What do you feel is the most important part of the installation and how will other people interpret this artwork?
  8. Assuming that students have conceive the idea of the frames whether they have or not students are taught to answer the questions in the context of the frames. 

Week 1 | 2 Periods 

“Signs and Symbols Art" Emphasis on the Frames - Artist Practice

Unit 3: “Signs and Symbols Art” (The Frames Artist Practice)
Outcomes: Frames - Artist Practice 4.1 - 4.10
Time: 34 Hours / 10-Weeks (approx)

Artist Model: Matt Weatherstone 
speaking to students about artist practice, ideas, concepts related to the frame works: 

1. Who inspired you to become an artist or why this career?

2. Why landscapes and what inspired you to do this particular theme? Tell us about other themes in your artworks. 

3. Who is your favourite artist/s and why? 

4. What is your favourite painting out of your collection and why?

5. How do you get ideas and tell us the process you go through to create? 

6. How do you choose your next location, topic, object etc to paint from? 

7. Are you always happy with the final product?

8. What makes you unique and standout from the other painters?

9. Have you ever doubted any of your artworks at anytime?

10. What is the hardest thing about being an artist?

11. Are there any signs and symbols within your artworks that suggest your faith

12. What is the most expensive painting you have sold and how long did it take to get your first break as a professional artist?

Dennis was born in 1973 on Badu Island. Diving for crayfish was the only industry on the island, and it was from this that many islanders earned their living. There was nobody to teach additional art, except dancing, and legends were told. After school on Badu and Thursday Island Dennis decided to go to Cairns to complete years 11 and 12. It was here that he found information on Torres Strait Island Art and he begun to interpret his cultural stories through illustrations.

Dennis felt strongly that he should retain his culture through his art. He was encouraged to study further, completing an Associate Diploma at Cairns TAFE and a Diploma of Visual Arts in printmaking at the Institute of the Arts, Australian National University, Canberra.

Dennis says of his work; "I got interested in using symbols of sea creatures, masks and designs which were influenced by coastal Papuan Art, trading items such as drums with traditional designs carved on them… My ancestors are from Papua New Guinea through my father’s side)."


What will they learn in Artmaking:

reflect on and interpret actions and choices, and document these in their diaries
make images and objects (artworks) that approximate an approach to artistic practice
make artworks using a range of 2D, 3D, 4D including drawing, forms, materials, techniques and various investigations of the world.
Using imagination /practicing artist practice

Critical / Historical
Students will study the artists and artworks of Fiona Foley

Answer all questions below related to both artworks
  1. Give a personal interpretation of this artwork of Fiona Foley and discuss there ideas.
  2. What is your personal response to the artworks? Discuss the question in relation to both artworks how it might affect the audience or their world around them.
  3. Explain what signs and symbols (objects) used to communicate to the audience and why?

Fiona Foley

HALF MOONExcerpt from the catalogue by Stuart Koop.

The process of reclaiming (or regenerating) Badtjala aboriginal culture in Foley's work begins with a series of archival photographs. This process is first of all a critical excercise in relation to the Western archive since the archive contains most of the sorrowful remains of aboriginal material culture. But the process is also largely speculative due to the scarcity of material. So to begin, Foley adds a number of notes directly in the margins of the archive. Working with acknowledged photographers, she has restaged the historical images of the Badtjala woman using herself as the subject, in each successive series recovering the Badtjala peoples' independence, strength, and humour.

Fiona Foley: Forbidden, is the first major survey exhibition of the artist's practice from 1994 to the present.

Currently showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney until 31 January 2010, the exhibition will then move to the University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane from 19 February to 2 May 2010. A fabulous monograph, jointly produced by the MCA and UQAM to accompany the exhibition, contains essays and images which not only reflect the photographic, video, installation and print works in the exhibition, but also other important aspects and elements of Foley's artistic practice including public artwork, sculptures and painting.

Fiona Foley (born 1964) is a contemporary Indigenous Australian artist from BadtjalaFraser IslandQueensland.

She studied at the Sydney College of the Arts. She has traveled as an artist internationally and to remote communities in Northern Territory. In particular visits to Ramingining inspired an awakening to culture and a conscious commitment to living on her own land in Badtjala. She helped establish the Boomalli Aboriginal Arts Cooperative in Sydney along with a group of prominent and politically active Aboriginal artists.

Foley uses her art to explore the tensions between sex, race and history and their various constructions.

Foley's work refers to her unique life history as an indigenous woman growing up in regional Queensland, in a community with a living memory of their colonisation by the English. Foley's discourse of history and culture is personal as it has impacted on her family, community and remains central to her sense of identity.

For Foley however, the political and the personal are not separate entities. Her lifestyle and art both reflect a commitment to her Aboriginal identity and challenge Australian culture to reread history to reveal moments of strength and empowerment.

In 2000, Foley's work was amongst that of eight individual and collaborative groups of Indigenous Australian artists shown in the prestigious Nicholas Hall at the Hermitage Museum in Russia. The exhibition received a positive reception from Russian critics, one of whom wrote:

This is an exhibition of contemporary art, not in the sense that it was done recently, but in that it is cased in the mentality, technology and philosophy of radical art of the most recent times. No one, other than the Aborigines of Australia, has succeeded in exhibiting such art at the Hermitage.[1]

Her work is held in the collection of the Queensland Art Gallery[2] and at the University Art Museum at the University of Queensland.


  1. Who is Fiona Foley? (Research on the web) 
  2. What are her beliefs about the artworks she creates?
  3. Explain to a new student in class that has not seen this artwork before the artwork.
  4. Explain the ideas involve in 

What will they learn in Critical:
subjective, structural, cultural and postmodern approaches to making artworks. Discussing what signs and symbols mean to them in the world around them. How artist include signs and symbols within their artworks. Artworks relating to a specific audience or the public in general.