Mapping Country

Students use their Walking Country experience to produce large-scale paintings that explore the themes that have arisen for them. These works were produced upon sections of our Silent Disco work, creating an existing surface to work over, within and through.


This activity was conducted in studioFive at MGSE as part of our Master of Teaching course.


  • Cartography
  • Being in and on country
  • Indigenous Australian countries and nations
  • Past, present and future
  • Environmental issues

Skills and Techniques

  • Painting
  • Response and refinement
  • Scaling


  • Acrylic and water colour paints
  • Butchers paper
  • Brushes, large to fine, and other painting tools


Students revisit their Walking Country works to reconnect with the exercise. They consider which ideas, themes and emotions they wish to continue exploring in paint.

Lengths of butchers paper, up to 1.5 metres in length, are given to each student who work on large tables or on the floor. Allow students to select from a broad range of paint types and tools to encourage experimentation with techniques.

Students spend the lesson extending their Walking Country concepts on to the larger canvasses. Allow time for students to observe each other’s work and practice.

Art Connections

In this lesson, students develop their painted sketches from their Walking Country into more resolved painted productions. They investigate ways of pushing concepts forward through experimentation with techniques.

VCD Connections

This lesson is a great intermediary step between visualisation drawings and design concepts. It can help free students up into thinking beyond the literal and to dig into the deeper themes within their work.

Related Artists

Shannon Rankin

Next Steps

Following lessons can extend these concepts by:

  • These pieces were used to inform Dry Point Etching and Lino Printing.
  • The long canvasses can be assembled into a class map with drawing and painting overlaid to create a collaborative cartography.
  • The pieces can be used as a base map, upon which sculpture and ceramic pieces can be created and located.
  • The large painting can be used as a starting point for designing a building or garden. Guide students through ways of turning the abstract map into more concrete design options.