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The animal within

 

Activity inspired by the exhibition
Menagerie: Contemporary Indigenous Sculpture

Suitable for ages 5+

What animal would you choose to represent you?

During the Spring 2012 school holidays, children and their families can make their own animal totem inspired by the wonderful variety of animal sculptures on show in the exhibition Menagerie: Contemporary Indigenous Sculpture.

You can try this yourself at home if you're not able to join us in the Museum's Discovery Space

'The animal within' encourages children to use moulding clay or Play Dough to create an animal sculpture that represents their personality. Do you laugh a lot? Perhaps you could be a kookaburra. If you're a fast runner, you might be a rabbit. Or perhaps you like lying in the sun. Are you a lizard?

A colour photograph of a boy holding a bright orange and grey craft item.

What you will need:

  • air-dry clay or Play Dough, stored in an air tight container
  • a knife and a fork ... not for eating your clay but for cutting and pressing some of the shapes you might like to make!
  • things to decorate your animal. These might include wire, string, cardboard, matchsticks and other objects from the garden or the recycling bin.

What to do:

1. Imagine what animal would best represent your personality. Will it be a real animal or one that you make up? Will it have scales and claws or be fluffy with wings?

2. Think about the kind of shapes your animal has and what materials you'll need to create it

3. Make the body of your animal

4. Make the head of your animal.

Tip: Make the shape of your animal and then decorate it. The clay looks great with things poked into it and added along the way.

5. Experiment with:

  • pressing a fork into the clay
  • mixing different colours
  • using things around the house for decoration.

If you would like to share your creation with us, send a photo to: schoolholidays@nma.gov.au and we will add it to our Flickr stream.

Samples

Below are a few examples of animal sculptures made by kids who've visited the Museum. To help get you started and provide some inspiration, look at the different colours and textures of the clay how different materials have been used to decorate these sculptures.

A colour image featuring three hand-crafted sculptures.

Video