First Nations Art Workshop with Artist Arthur Conlon | Coomera Anglican College

First Nations Art Workshop with Artist Arthur Conlon

Arthur Conlon, a well-known First Nations artist, recently conducted a day-long workshop at our College, imparting invaluable knowledge and experience to our Primary, Junior, and Senior Secondary students.

Arthur hails from the Wakka Wakka tribe in South-East Queensland, and his artistic inspiration comes from both the fauna in the Kabi-Kabi region and his life as a tribesman on the land.

During the workshop, Arthur shared his expertise in pastel drawings and totemic representation in Aboriginal culture. He discussed the significance of totems in Aboriginal culture and their role in personal and community identity. Arthur's insights and perspectives on Aboriginal culture were engaging and valuable for our students, providing them with a unique opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the First Australians.

Arthur's medium of choice is water-based paint, and his paintings are based on hunting. His work is deeply connected to the land, and his depictions of animals are intricate and detailed. His art reflects the traditional customs and practices of his tribe, and his work is a testament to the cultural heritage of First Nations people.

One of the central themes of Arthur's art is the significance of the bora ring, which is represented by a large circle in his paintings. The bora ring was a meeting place for tribes to come together, share stories and traditions, and strengthen their bond as a community. The smaller circles in Arthur's paintings represent the various tribes and the land they inhabit. These circles are interlinked, signifying the interdependence of the tribes and their connection to the land.  As there were no writing materials available, signatures were marked by blowing ochre paint over the hand onto a cave wall. This was seen as a mark of the local tribe belonging to that area. Arthur's work reflects this tradition and serves as a reminder of the significance of land ownership and preservation.

We had the pleasure of hosting some visiting teachers from other schools who attended the workshop, recognising the incredible value of this experience for all involved. 

Arthur's guidance and support were instrumental in helping our students create beautiful and meaningful works of art, and we are grateful for this opportunity to learn from such a talented and knowledgeable artist.

Arthur's art is a tribute to the ancient Aboriginal practice of marking their presence and ownership of the land.