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New Aboriginal art course at TAFE NSW Ulladulla

[by Adam Wright]

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Sandra Lee, TAFE NSW teachers Glenn Duffield and Victoria Mitchell-Reeves, Nicole Jarman, Elaine Boness and Kathleen Heath. Image: supplied

A new Cultural Art course at TAFE NSW Ulladulla is giving students the skills to turn creative abilities into career opportunities as demand for Aboriginal art sees a resurgence.

The Certificate IV in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Arts was introduced this year at TAFE NSW Ulladulla and follows on from the Certificate III which was introduced two years ago.

The course provides more advanced creative skills and has a focus on creating exhibitions, establishing networks, and career paths for artists.

The market for Aboriginal cultural art steadily rose from 2016 to 2020. According to art market analysts Cooee Art, the increase in average prices for work by the top 200 indigenous artists indicates the market will continue to grow faster than the economy at least until 2025.

Burrill Lake resident Kathleen J Heath has poured her creative energy into ceramics for many years and has sold her work through the Ulladulla Pottery Group. She said she has noticed a growing interest in cultural art particularly from visitors to the region. This year she enrolled in the Certificate IV and is improving her drawing skills.

“People want artwork with Aboriginal motifs or anything symbolic of Aboriginal work. I think there will be plenty of opportunities for the younger students coming through to take their works as far as they want,” Mrs Heath said.

She said the course had given her more confidence by broadening the skills she can call on in her drawing.

“Working with our teacher Glenn Duffield has given me the confidence to exhibit. I was never confident when it came to drawing. But Glenn taught me shading techniques at that bring the work to life. It’s those types of techniques that can take a drawing from being two dimensional to having depth and life.

“We’re lucky to have renowned local artist Duff, as he’s known, as our TAFE teacher. To have someone at the level showing us different techniques is very inspiring.”

Mr Duffield is proud to share his artistic skills and knowledge with his students and he has plenty to offer.

Throughout his career he has had an art piece acquired by the National Gallery of Australia, has been a finalist in the Parliament of NSW Aboriginal Art Prize for five consecutive years, and has exhibited and curated exhibitions as well as being involved in many South Coast community art projects.

Mr Duffield gained his formal qualifications at TAFE NSW, where he completed Certificate III and IV in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Arts, he then graduated from a TAFE NSW Diploma in Visual Arts.

“I went from being a student to becoming a teacher, it’s a real highlight of my career,” Mr Duffield said.

“It’s fantastic to help the students grow their artistic talent. I like to pass on and share what I know and it’s wonderful to see what the students can do with it. A lot of them feel really proud of what they can do.”

For more information about the range of courses available at TAFE NSW visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601.

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