The Wahluu Racing Team took poll position at Gunther’s Lane Café last Friday when it showcased for the Artstate launch the output of its innovative educational program, with an exhibition of artwork and a smorgasbord of finger food fusions created by students from Denison College.
Students, teachers, and Wiradyuri elders involved in the pilot project rubbed shoulders with proud parents, Create NSW executives, Department of Education officials and arts industry representatives on hand to experience the culmination of the five-week project.
Described as a powerful combination of digital technology and traditional learning models, the premise of the Wahluu Racing Team was an exploration and celebration of the past, present and future uses of the mountain, made famous by the Mount Panorama international motor racing circuit but traditionally the site of initiation rites for Wiradyuri males for millennia.
Students learnt the process of creating vibrant graphic designs for their digital racecars through a combination of ancient and modern teaching practice.
Totemic animals traditionally associated with the Wiradyuri nation were introduced - and their behaviours explained – by local Elders, and students selected their own totems based on their individual character traits and interests.
These totems were then developed into the racing car livery designs with the hands-on mentoring of graphic designer Marg Hogan, responsible for the iconic Mount Panorama racing circuit signage so ubiquitous around Bathurst.
Marg said of the project: “It was one of the most joyous and fulfilling working experiences of my life, highlighting for me how a different approach to learning can light up a young person in a whole new way.
“And while their finished artworks exceeded all our expectations, including theirs, it was the process and atmosphere of trust and positivity that was the real winner. Not to mention the smiles on their parents' faces.”
As part of the Friday launch internationally celebrated Wiradyuri artist Jonathon Jones took the Wahluu Racing Team students on a personal tour of his video installation exhibited at the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, and gave professional feedback on the students’ designs.
Students catered to the Artstate visitors’ more exotic palates with bush food samplers including emu, crocodile and kangaroo finger food fusions.
These had been perfected at school under the auspices of Chef Caden from Indigenous Cultural Adventures, who said; “We were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of students to learn about bushfoods and cooking, and feel that the program gives students an opportunity to experience different pathways of future employment within the school environment.”
Artstate visitors sampled the students’ cooking and artwork, were press-ganged into driving the simulator (running Mount Panorama racetrack software) and watched an entertaining montage of video footage recorded by students focusing on media as their input to the project.
This footage, recording the processes involved in the graphic design and catering, form the evaluation and promotional element of the Wahluu Racing Team program.
The team would like to thank Gunther’s Lane Café for their enthusiasm, generosity and support.