Part of the Know My Name initiative celebrating women artists, this learning resource supports primary school students to investigate and draw inspiration from the groundbreaking prints and paintings of Australian women artists Ethel Spowers and Eveline Syme. These artists were best friends who encouraged each other to experiment and explore different ways of making art, promoting new ways of doing and seeing.

The resource, which complements the National Gallery of Australia’s touring exhibition Spowers & Syme, focuses on a selection of key themes, including About the Artists, Play and Games, and Landscapes. Themes are accompanied by Look, Think and Create prompts, offering Making and Responding activities that foster critical and creative thinking.

Children playing on swings

Ethel Spowers Swings 1932, linocut, 24 x 26.6 cm (printed image), National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 1976

Curriculum links

This resource is linked to the Australian Curriculum and is particularly relevant to the Visual Arts learning area. By engaging with the work of Ethel Spowers and Eveline Syme through the strands of Making and Responding, Foundation to Year 6 students can extend their awareness of visual conventions and consider how and why artists realise their ideas through different visual representations, practices, processes and viewpoints. Through looking, discussing and creatively engaging with art, students can develop the general capability of critical and creative thinking.

Teachers may adapt or extend this resource for use with groups of different ages and across learning areas. There is rich potential for connections to be made in the study of English and the Humanities and Social Sciences as there are creative writing tasks and opportunities to explore the concepts of continuity and change.

The National Gallery values feedback from students and teachers on the resources we produce. To share student work or your feedback, please email  learning@nga.gov.au.

The National Gallery of Australia's learning programs are generously supported by Education Patron Tim Fairfax AC, in honour of Betty Churcher AO.