Woodside Primary School’s SALA

By Kendrea Rhodes

Every August for the past seven years, the walls of Balhannah’s Olive Branch Café have been awash with the inspiration, dedication and community spirit embodied in Woodside Primary School’s annual SALA art exhibition.

“This is Us” is the 2021 exhibition that explores several techniques, artists and events like  recent bushfires and covid lockdowns. The sense of place is strong in this exhibition, representing Adelaide Hills’ homes, communities, environments and history.

“In the art room, we focused on the importance of our community at these times. How between home and school, children felt cared for and safe,” said Anne Griffiths, art teacher at Woodside Primary School.

The students have taken inspiration from local and Aboriginal artists to make their own connections to Country using different artistic perspectives.

After looking at paintings by Gulumbu Yunupingu our Reception students work includes sparkling skies that represent all of us living under the same stars.

The Tjanapi Desert Weavers inspired the Year 3 and 4 students who created woven animals using sculptural textile techniques. The expressions and soft woven bodies of the animals are arranged in a colourful display representing the return of native fauna after the fires.

Other students looked at Hans Heysen’s Adelaide Hills’ gumtree patterns and made connections to Aboriginal landscape paintings. They also considered the shared goals of caring for Country through artists like Badger Bates.

Year 5 and 6 students, Woodside Primary School with their Hills themed artworks. The school’s “This is Us” SALA exhibition is at the Olive Branch Café, Balhannah for the duration of the SALA festival. Photo courtesy Anne Griffiths.

“In teaching art, we have tried to make connections to how artists reflect on their environment rather than replicate the artists’ work. We have looked at how we can interpret living in the Hills in our own way,” Anne said.  

The students also looked at the representation of social settings in Aboriginal art. They incorporate this not only in the artwork they produce, but in their methods and techniques of  working collaboratively, and exploring and interpreting sites that are meaningful within their own community. 

Anne Griffiths (art teacher, Woodside Primary School) and Nicole McIntosh (Olive Branch Café owner and chef) with some of the artwork from the School’s “This is Us” SALA exhibition.

The exhibition will run throughout August at the Olive Branch Café, Balhannah Junction Shopping Centre. Masks are mandatory and there are seating limits due to covid restrictions, but the area is large and there are lots of opportunities to view the artwork. You can contact the Olive Branch Café on 8398 0009 or via Facebook.   

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