When you think of the art of design, you think about the child in your art class.
“I have two little children who are very gifted,” says Artistic Director for Indigenous Media and Culture, Chris Ngo, a native of the Tiwi tribe in New South Wales.
“They’re two beautiful little girls who really loved making the things that they made and I think that’s what I think of most of my work.”
Ngo’s first child, Alyssa, has been an avid art-making artist for over a decade.
She started making traditional artworks with a stick and a pen as a child.
She’s also worked on tribal animal designs, using her family’s traditional art materials and skills.
Ngo says she’s learned a lot about how to create traditional designs, and has even gone as far as making traditional clothing.
“The things that we made for ourselves were actually quite traditional, it was not very fancy but it was what we had,” she says.
“And I was like, ‘that’s what we have and that’s how we do it’.” So she set out to create something that was her own, but also something that she thought would be a good fit for her children’s art class: “I was like ‘why don’t I make a little boy’s drawing that looks like the art that my children have made?’
And they said ‘yeah, sure, let’s do that’.” It took two years, but Ngo finally came up with the design.
It was something that Alyssah could use to design her own tribal animal artworks, and she’s made hundreds of these, all in her own designs.
The designs range from traditional wooden and clay art, to handcrafted animal designs.
In this image of a white wolf, for example, Ayla is drawing an elephant.
“It was a lot of work but I think I was really happy with the result, because I felt like I was working with a really strong and strong artist,” she said.
“Alyssa loved that I had put her drawings together, and I loved that she could draw these things that I thought were pretty special and that I knew that I could put them together into this kind of work that I would be proud to be a part of.”
Artistic director of Indigenous Media & Culture, Artistic Direction and Creative Director for the Northern Territory, Chris Dolan, says Alyssas design took four years to complete.
“When you make something that’s meant for children, it’s important that you try to make it as fun for the kids to draw as possible,” he says.
Nganna Dolan and her two sons have designed over 150 tribal animal artwork designs.
“We’ve done a lot more tribal animal design than we could have hoped for,” she explains.
“Sometimes the designs are really tough and challenging, so we try to give them as much variety and detail as we can, but it’s all designed to be really fun and easy for the children to understand.”
It’s an approach that Aylaa and her mother have been happy to take, and is something that her son is also happy with.
“As an artist, you can’t just be a kid and draw stuff all day long, you have to really think about it,” he said.
He says it helps that the designs have been done in a way that’s easy for him to draw.
“He’s really good at it,” Aylah said.
The inspiration for the designs came when the family was living in Victoria.
“My sister and I, we’re both artists and we wanted to get away from all the traditional art that we were doing and do something that would be something that we could look at and say ‘we’ve done that’.
So, we started to do the designs on our own,” she explained.
The first time the family used a traditional art drawing, Ayelea was shocked. “
Then she had a black bear, and then she got a cow and then a rabbit,” she added.
The first time the family used a traditional art drawing, Ayelea was shocked.
“She didn’t understand the significance of it at first,” she recalled.
“But then she started to really love it.
She was so happy with it.”
Alyssaa said the designs had a big impact on her children.
“Now Alyssahs drawing is her favourite, because it’s so easy and it’s just like a real drawing,” she told ABC Radio National.
“There’s nothing that she doesn’t like.”
They have also made tribal animal tattoos for the Tippecanoe and Kangaroo tribes, and are working on more tribal designs.
As part of their Indigenous Arts program, Ayesha has also designed traditional designs for a school project.
“For me it’s about the education of the children, and so I love that they can relate to the designs, because they