Artwork comes together for Sorry Day

Year 3 students have been studying artistic styles such as realism, impressionism and abstract art. They have learned that an artist’s context and experiences can influence his or her artwork, such as Ken Done’s love of Sydney and Vincent van Gogh’s lifetime battle with depression.

In their study of indigenous culture the students came to understand and value the rich oral history of the Dharawal people of our own local area. Over the last few weeks all this understanding came together as they focused on the significance of Sorry Day and its importance in the reconciliation journey of our nation. Students were taught about the Stolen Generation and listened to Kevin Rudd’s first speech as Prime Minister, when he apologised for the Australian Government’s role in it.

Their response was to create a meaningful collaborative artwork, where children took an indigenous design and each coloured or decorated one panel. Then the panels were joined together to create an original piece of art. The artwork was designed especially for Sorry Day by Zachary Bennett-Brook, a Torres Strait Islands artist whose work is seen in murals all over the Illawarra and beyond.

“It was humbling to see how dedicated the Year 3 students were in wanting to respect the story of Sorry Day and create something beautiful in commemoration,” commented Year 3 Teacher, Mrs Dowling.

Children’s comments:

  • “I love this!”
  • “This is the best artwork our class has ever done.”
  • “I like how we all did our bits the way we wanted but then they could all join up.”
  • “I like that he (the artist) is a Dharawal man and I’d like to meet him.”
  • “I can’t believe that people thought it was okay to take other people’s children.”