Fourth grade students strengthen Canada-Australia bond through art

Canadian fourth graders pose with their Dream Time style artwork in front of their school.

Yulara citizens show off the four exceptional pieces, which are displayed at the local police station.

This poster compiling the 27 student artwork is now exhibited at the Yulara Community Hall and Canadian Chancery in Australia.

What started out as a simple art project for a group of fourth grade students turned into a serendipitous and heartfelt exchange between two countries.

When teacher Steve Revington proposed an Australian theme to his class, they got busy. 27 students from Emily Carr Public School in London, Ontario created paintings in the indigenous Dream Time style of Australia’s Northern Territory.

Impressed by the work of his students, Revington arranged for them to be judged by experts. He was ably assisted by Sergeant Annette Cooper, Officer in Charge of the Yulara Police station in the Northern Territory. After much correspondence, the pieces were sent to the Mutitjulu, community situated at the foot of Uluru, internationally known as Ayres Rock.

Artists from Maruku Arts inspected the works, commending the quality and correct use of the traditional style, praising the students on their research and hard work.

The artists selected four pieces, which are now showcased in the Yulara Police Station. The remaining pieces were distributed to local children to show how their Canadian counterparts had attempted the Dream Time style, in efforts to link the two communities closer.

Revington designed a poster incorporating all 27 paintings, which was presented to the elders and Sgt. Cooper at the Yulara Community Hall, thanking them for this memorable experience.

This Canada-Australia connection was furthered when Public Affairs Manager Mary Lou Hayman visited London, her hometown. She dropped in on Steve and presented him with copies of the High Commission’s publication ‘Canada in Australia.’

"It was such a pleasure to meet Steve and visit him at his school in London. He shared the process he used with his students to describe the Australian outback and the aboriginal culture and art, which he became aware of through his several visits to Australia. It is remarkable how well his students were able to capture the essence of this in their artworks," Hayman commented.

She presented her copy of Steve’s compilation poster to High Commissioner Michael Small so that it can be exhibited in the Chancery for the public to view.