A young Aboriginal artist is using skills gained at TAFE NSW Nowra to teach local children from diverse backgrounds about the art, culture and traditions of First Nations people.
Diploma of Visual Arts student Sebastian Moult is working at Lyrebird Preschool where he involves the children in active, hands-on learning that shares traditional stories while providing opportunities for fun.
The Wiradjuri man has entered the workforce at a time when Aboriginal cultural activities are being added to the curricula at many schools and preschools across the state.
Sebastian, 22, has helped the children to create multiple artworks, including totem poles, a platypus painting, a mural, and a wooden boat decorated with paintings of a whale and the fish of the Shoalhaven River.
“It’s great fun teaching the kids the old stories while showing them how to paint,” he said.
“We use different ways of painting including flicking and sponging and it gets pretty messy, but the children love it and it’s really rewarding to use what I’ve learned at TAFE NSW to teach them cultural stories.”
Preschool director Sharon O’Brien said Sebastian was making an enormous contribution to the artistic and cultural education of the children.
“He works with the children in small groups, encouraging their creativity and they gravitate towards him because he creates such a fun and relaxing environment,” she said.
“We have children from multi-cultural backgrounds so it’s wonderful for them to learn about Aboriginal culture in such a creative way.”
Teacher of Cultural Arts at TAFE NSW Nowra, Warwick Keen, said education was one of many career options for cultural and visual arts students.
“There are lots of pathways for our students to enter the workforce in the cultural arts space, from becoming exhibiting artists, curators or administrators or, in Sebastian’s case, using creative skills to teach new generations about an ancient culture in a fun and engaging way,” he said.
Sebastian, who has also completed Certificate III and IV courses in Cultural Arts at TAFE NSW Nowra, has thanked his TAFE NSW teachers and local elders, Uncle Charlie Ashby of Nowra and Aunty Loretta Parsley of Batemans Bay, for the training and mentoring needed to develop his career.
“When I was at school, I was the kid who was always more interested in art than the other lessons so it’s deadly that I’m now working in a field that I love, helping today’s children to learn and grow,” he said.
“Without my training at TAFE NSW and the help of Uncle Charlie and Aunty Loretta I wouldn’t have got to this point – so I’m very grateful to my teachers and elders for helping me to reach my goals.”