Visual arts levels 7 and 8

Lesson overview - Sorry

This is a Level 7 and 8 visual arts lesson. It is focused on how art mediums can be used to explore concepts.

Victorian Curriculum

Levels 7 and 8

Explore visual arts practices as inspiration to explore and develop themes, concepts or ideas in artworks (VCAVAE033).

Learning intention

We are learning about the way artists explore contemporary issues or concepts in their work.

Success criteria

I can explain and replicate techniques used by artists to explore contemporary issues or concepts in their work.

Extension ideas

Extend the success criteria (outcome): I can compare and replicate techniques used by artists to explore contemporary issues or concepts in their work.

Lesson sequence

'Sorry' by Tony Albert provides a starting point for students to discuss how artists express contemporary issues in their artworks. The discussion questions will assist students to explore the use of ‘found objects' in Albert's work and how the artist has used them to express an abstract concept.

Activity 1

Small group discussion about everyday materials and words. Consider the following questions:

  • What is the main concept behind Sorry?
  • How do you think the artist has expressed the idea?
  • Consider the materials and techniques the artist has used to make the work and why he chose those materials
  • Describe how the artist has expressed the concept using visual conventions.

Extension ideas

High-ability students could be grouped together for this task. They could be asked to locate another artwork on the same issue from a different time period. Students then compare and contrast the methods used by the artists to explore their ideas. Students could respond to the following question: How have changes in society impacted the way the artists have expressed their ideas?

Activity 2

Students identify a concept that they consider to be significant or important to them. Concepts could include:

  • climate change
  • immigration policies, refugees and asylum seekers
  • technology
  • colonisation.

Students collect a range of articles from text-based sources that represent issues associated with the concept. They then:

  • identify key words or statements used in the articles
  • select key words or phrases that express the concept
  • look at and investigate the types of fonts used and how the type of font connects with the concept
  • collect objects that represent the concept. (Once the objects have been collected, categorise and arrange them according to the art elements – for example, shape, form, colour and texture – and the art principle scale).
  • arrange the objects to form the letters in one of the key words or phrases.

Extension idea

High-ability students could replicate the techniques used by the second artist they explored in the previous activity instead of those used by Tony Albert in 'Sorry'.

Activity 3 

  • Students describe how the selection of materials and visual conventions express the concept behind the work
  • Students explain how Albert's work influenced the choices they made in their own artworks.

Extension idea

High-ability students create criteria for evaluating how well their artwork explores their selected issue.


This lesson plan is adapted from the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority's Visual Arts sample learning activities.