The ARTIE Academy has unveiled a new workshop called the ‘Deadly Boards Project’, where students design skateboards using Indigenous art and symbolism to express their identity.

During Term 3, a group of ARTIE Academy students from Years 5 and 6 at Inala State School became the first participants in the program, spending seven week sharing ideas and cultural connection, with a positive focus on the strengths of each student.

More than just an art program, the Deadly Boards Project connects students to their culture, and empowers them to build stronger relationships through greater understanding of each other and the difficulties they may face daily, through mutual encouragement and support.

Each week, as part of the ARTIE Academy program, ARTIE Coordinators focus on specific themes with the students, including design, affirmation and storytelling.

Affirmation week asks students to share positive strengths to help motivate, inspire, and encourage each other, while Coordinator week is when ARTIE Coordinators Lonnie and Joel shared their life journeys, and how they had arrived at this stage of their lives.

At the end of the lesson, every student was then asked to share what they hoped to achieve in the future.

“When you share your real stories, experiences, and truth with students, you gain a different level of respect,” Lonnie said.

“But it also gives the students a chance to see there are many different paths in life after school.

“It was a great way to share and listen to the everyone’s interest and dreams – hearing the students say: ‘I want to be a footy player’, or ‘I want to become an architect’, or ‘I want to be an artist’.

“The goal of the Deadly Boards Project is to create a space where children can explore their Indigenous identities via art, relationships, and conversations, while also talking about how to encourage positive experiences and behaviours.”

As part of building positive relationships, a group of students from local secondary school Glenala State High School joined in the Deadly Boards Project – assisting with painting, and providing that extra support for the students.
It was a great opportunity for both schools to interact, but also created important foundations for relationships that will be vital to sustain engagement across the transition to secondary school.

The skateboards will be presented to Inala State School by the ARTIE Academy students as a gift before they leave for high school and the next step in their educational journey.

Eylania Naawi

ARTIE Academy Education Coordinator