Kluge-Ruhe field trip

Today, instead of our regular art class, about 14 of us went to the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Museum! It’s a free museum open to the public and as the website states it’s “The only museum in the United States dedicated to the exhibition and study of Australian Aboriginal Art.”

In my opinion it’s very cool, and when thinking of community spaces to check out I thought of how well this museum lends itself to the aesthetic of the Innisfree artists. To give you some background, Australian Aboriginal art is often about stories and mapping, and these stories are often told in a series of painted dots that cluster to depict people, animals, trails, and even time passing. Here are a few examples of the art we saw (first 3 listed were displayed in the gallery and second 3 were not):

We wandered around the gallery a bit, talked about the stories the pieces were telling, talked about our favorites, and looked at the shapes and colors each artist used. Then we headed outside for a bit of our own art making! Everyone was prompted to tell a story with their dots whether it was what we’d done that day or what we were looking forward to or telling a simple story about fall.

Some key words and phrases that came out of story sharing were:

Springtime and flowers, round shapes, “I am this green flower- The yellow is happiness, the black is pain”, “Life is fun!”, “I drew a giraffe! And this is a tree.”, “I drew a rainbow, the sky, and a baseball. I miss my house”, “It’s kind of like a sunset…sunset orange, and a seahorse.” “This is the sun…and this is the moon.”

That’s not all of the stories that were painted, but as you can see many ideas came out of what seemed like simple dots. We rarely get the time to sit around and share what we’ve made with each other, so this was a precious opportunity. I think everyone enjoyed getting the spotlight for a few minutes, and I love that everyone’s came out so differently. Some thought in abstract and some thought in figures and it taught me a few things about how the art class group thinks and what they need to create and feel supported.

Next week we’ll keep working on our long-term personal projects. I’m so grateful these guys are flexible and let me go on detours like this with them!