Exhibition: Learning from Country

feature image for Learning from Country exhibition

15 May–31 July 2017

Fisher Library F03; Level 2, Exhibition Space, University of Sydney

Learning from Country from ‘The Papunya School Book of Country and History’ to ‘Australians All’

Learning from Country is an exhibition of original artwork and materials showcasing the journey behind a series of multi-award-winning books produced by Nadia Wheatley and Ken Searle.

Published over the course of a decade by independent Australian publisher, Allen & Unwin, these innovative books celebrate a way of learning that puts Country at the centre.

This exhibition showcases the journey behind the production of these books — a journey that began when Nadia Wheatley and Ken Searle worked as consultants at the school at Papunya (Northern Territory), and were introduced to the Indigenous principle of Learning from Country that is at the core of the Papunya School Book of Country and History and the picture book memoir When I was Little, Like You, by Papunya Elder Mary Malbunka. In Walking with the Seasons in Kakadu the same principle is explored in a different Aboriginal country.

Later work that Nadia and Ken have done with students in Sydney shows that this way of learning is just as effective when the ‘country’ is the city and students’ families come from homelands scattered across the world. This was exemplified in Going Bush, in which art and writing by culturally diverse urban children is showcased.

In Playground, over a hundred Aboriginal Elders and young people from across the continent pass on their wisdom, while in Australians All Nadia and Ken present stories of young people growing up in our nation, from the Ice Age to the Apology.

While educationalists will be inspired by this exhibition to try out this holistic model for themselves, the display of text and original artwork (in draft and final form) will fascinate anyone who has ever wondered how words and images get onto the page of a picture book.

Finally, of course, Learning from Country will delight its core audience: the young Australians to whom these beautiful books belong.

Additional program:

Learning from Country – guided walks

Nadia Wheatley and ken Searle will guide you through the exhibition.

Tuesday 23 May; 5pm-6pm

Saturday 3 June; 3pm-4pm

Thursday 8 June; 5pm-6pm

Thursday 22 June; 5pm-6pm

Places are limited, so please RSVP to helen.loughlin@sydney.edu.au

 

Books showcased in this exhibition:

* Papunya School Book of Country and History, by staff and students Papunya School,

in association with Nadia Wheatley and Ken Searle

* When I was Little, Like You, by Mary Malbunka

* Walking with the Seasons in Kakadu, by Diane Lucas and Ken Searle

* Going Bush, by Nadia Wheatley and Ken Searle, in association with students from inner-Sydney schools

* Playground — Stories from Country and from Inside the Heart, compiled by Nadia Wheatley and illustrated by Ken Searle. Indigenous consultant Dr Jackie Huggins

* Australians All, Growing Up in Australia from the Ice Age to the Apology, by Nadia Wheatley and Ken Searle