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This painting is one of a series of 12 artworks made by Aboriginal children from La Perouse School. The Aboriginal Arts Board collected some 3383 paintings from Aboriginal students at 70 schools in the mid-1970s. These artworks were originally collected for 'The Aboriginal Children?s History of Australia: Written and Illustrated by Australia?s Aboriginal Children', published by Rigby, Adelaide in 1977.
The collection of material for the book is an extraordinary story. Robert Edwards, then Director of the AAB, has explained that the idea of the children?s collection evolved in 1975 aboard a flight to Canberra. He was seated next to the American publisher Edward J. McGrath Jr, Director of the Hawaiian publishing firm, Island Heritage Limited. McGrath asked his fellow passenger the inevitable question under these circumstances: ?What do you do?? On hearing Edward?s involvement nationally with Australian Aboriginal communities, McGrath explained that he was publishing a series of children?s histories from different nations throughout the world. He produced from his briefcase a copy of 'A Child?s History of Hawaii' and an exchange of ideas for a history book by Aboriginal children ensued. Edwards recalls that the flight was fortuitous, as he had for some time been thinking about ways and means of linking Indigenous children into the Aboriginal Arts Board?s art programs. Children?s art seemed the most probable and the most practical way of involving children, especially if the project could be organised through the school system. It would also be the most reliable way of reaching the children in all Aboriginal communities. A project to produce children?s art works for a history book authored by Aboriginal children was subsequently proposed to the Aboriginal Arts Board, who approved and implemented the project in 1976.
Michael Gray was responsible for researching and coordinating the project, which incorporated 70 participating Aboriginal schools from all parts of Australia except Victoria and the Torres Strait.
Paint on paper. Figure swimming towards ball. Three seagulls above. Artist: Leonie Timbery. (?)La Perouse.
L 375mm x W 257mm x D 0.2mm