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Issue-based Assemblage Sculpture

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Writer: Sam Cunnane

Media: Mixed Media
Curriculum Level: 5
Year Level: 10
Duration: 9 periods
Assessment: Tchr & Peer

Images shown in this unit and supporting information are sourced from, and can be accessed through the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

'No nukes in the Pacific' poster, 1984

Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

'Asiasi II', 2000

Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

'Pisupo lua afe' (Corned beef 2000), 1994

This resource is offered as an example of a unit that engages with the "front end" of The New Zealand Curriculum (2007) - considering Vision, Principles, Values, and Key Competencies, as well as Achievement Objectives.*Teachers are encouraged to use or modify this work in any way they find helpful for their programmes and their students. For example, it may be inappropriate to assess all students at level 5.

Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa


Students will investigate a selection of art works that comment on social or environmental issues. They will then make their own art works in response to a self-selected social or environmental issue.



Connected - working in pairs and small groups enables students to develop their ability to relate well to others. Producing an art work that comments on an environmental issue helps strengthen students' connections to land and environment. Producing an art work that comments on a social issue helps strengthen students' understanding of their position as members of communities.

Actively involved - producing issue-based art works helps students' to develop an understanding of their position as contributors to the social and environmental well-being of New Zealand.

Lifelong learners - investigating art works and producing their own helps students to develop critical and creative thinking skills.


High Expectations - there are near endless opportunities for students to strive for personal excellence through the production of an art work: students are challenged to make an art work that clearly communicates their ideas, while being technically and pictorially well made.

Learning to learn - students reflect on their own learning and that of others through the process of refining their own art works.

Coherence - students make links to other curriculum areas (particularly Science and Social Sciences) through the study of social and environmental issues.


 Excellence - students are encouraged to aim high through the use of high quality art works as exemplars of good practice.

Innovation, inquiry and curiosity - students are encouraged to think critically, creatively and reflectively throughout the art-making process.

Ecological sustainability - students are encouraged to reflect on and promote ecologically sustainable practices.


Thinking - students will critically analyse visual and written information about selected art works and their related social and environmental issues.

Using language, symbols and texts - students will make meaning from the symbols and texts they are presented with, and use symbols to produce their own visual texts.

Managing self - students will work to present a completed art work by a set deadline.

Relating to others and Participating and contributing - students will interact with their classmates in small and large groups to investigate information.

UC - Understanding the Arts in Context Students will investigate and consider the relationship between the production of artworks and their contexts and influences. Students will investigate the ways in which artists make art works to comment on social and environmental issues.
PK - Developing Practical Knowledge Students will apply knowledge of selected conventions from established practice, using appropriate processes and procedures. Students will apply knowledge of a range or mixed media art-making processes (painting, sculpture, collage, installation) in the production of a mixed media art work.
DI - Developing Ideas Students will generate, develop and refine ideas in response to a variety of motivations, including the study of established practice. In response to the study of selected art works students will generate, develop and refine ideas about a social or environmental issue and present these ideas in visual form.
CI - Communicating and Interpreting Students will compare and contrast the ways in which ideas and art-making processes are used to communicate meaning in selected objects and images. Students will compare and contrast (through group discussions) the ways in which ideas about social and environmental issues are communicated through selected objects and images.


  • Data projector and screen
  • Printed versions of selected DigiStore assets or access to DigiStore online for at least 5 groups of students
  • A range of materials for the production of mixed media art works. The materials required will largely be selected and sourced by the students


DigiStore ASSETS

Please Note: DRAWING

This unit requires the students to make drawings as part of the development of their ideas for an art work. In many cases this art work will take the form of a sculpture. The ability to make sculpture is dependent upon recognising and using drawing as a thinking and working process.Drawing is an ongoing decision-making process which enables a continuum to be established and maintained. Drawing can take place in two and three dimensions. Sketches, drawing notes, worksheets, plans, models, maquettes, photocollage and digital processes, and finished sculpture can all be considered appropriate forms of this process.

Assessment Schedule

Student Peer Assessment

Teaching and Learning Sequence - Teacher Copy

Student Information Sheet

Student Task Sheet

'Black phoenix', 1984

'Pisupo lua afe' (Corned beef 2000), 1994

'Asiasi II', 2000

'Native portraits', 1994-97

'Traffic Cop Bay', 2003

'No nukes in the Pacific' poster, 1984

Printing this unit

To download and print this unit, select from Word or PDF formats:

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