The Rainbow Snake  

        In Dreamtime, our ancestors walked the song lines of the Earth. The Earth they walked on was brown, flat and featureless. The only colours shone in the sky after a storm. The distillation of colours hung there in the form of a rainbow. The rainbow dreamed and had longings in its heart. “ I will go down and find a tribe who think as I do.”

         The rainbow drank its own magic and writhed into life as a snake. It was massively heavy and created valleys and hills as it travelled upon the Earth. The rain that fell was now channelled into rivers and lakes.

          One day the snake found a happy laughing tribe; it was mesmerised by its music and, even though the tribe was initially fearful, the snake coiled itself around them and protected them.

         All was well until one night whilst the snake was sleeping, two boys, mistaking the open mouth of the snake for a cave, crept inside for shelter from the rain. The snake felt something and swallowed!

         Realising what had happened, the snake tried to avoid being found out and slithered away, hiding at the top of a mountain. The tribe’s hunters went after it and, finding it sleeping, slit its side open. Out flew two beautiful birds with plumage of many colours. The boys had been transformed.

         The snake was very angry and, in order to escape the rampage of venomous Rainbow Snake, the people transformed themselves into anything and everything. The snake exhausted itself and at last hurled itself into the sea. It slithered into the setting sun. The following morning it was back in its place again as if it had never left, spanning the sky like a breath of peace; a miasma of rain and sunlight.

Years 5 and 6 worked together to make the painting.

Didgeridoos

The didgeridoo is a wind instrument of the Aboriginal people.  Authentic Aboriginal didgeridoos are usually made from hardwoods like eucalyptus.  The main trunk of the tree is often harvested, though branches are sometimes used as well.  Aboriginal craftsmen spend considerable time searching for a suitable tree to make into a didgeridoo.  The difficult part is in finding a tree that has been suitably hollowed out by termites.

Since Year 5 didn't have quite that much time, or any termites, thankfully, we used cardboard tubes as the base for our instruments. We stuck newspaper and thick card to the tubes to add relief.

Modroc was then added to transform the tubes into wonderfully knotted  and twisted branch shapes.

 

Finally, the didgeridoos were painted with acrylic in the dot patterns which are typical of Aboriginal art.  Some of the art of the instruments actually tells a story. 

We put them on upside-down tables to dry. 

 

Didgeridoos are hard to play but we managed to get a sound from them.

Rock Art

Rock painting can be found in most parts of Australia, ranging from simple hand or boomerang stencils to elaborate X-ray pictures.  Traditionally, paints were often made from water or spittle mixed with ochre and other rock pigments.  Painting was then performed on people's bodies, rock walls or bark.

 

 

We looked at various examples of Aboriginal art and created our own rock paintings.  Sometimes, the shape of the rock inspired our choice of creature.

Outback Landscapes

We took inspiration from some amazing photography of the Australian outback and used chalk pastels to create vibrantly coloured skies.  We then added silhouettes of birds, animals and vegetation using black pastel or charcoal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We asked our link school in Australia - Kuranda School - if they could paint pictures of the rainforest near their school.  Click here to see their gallery of work

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