Skip to main content

Main navigation

Two hands are placing small shells onto a light brown boomerang.

Shellwork Art Workshop
First Nations workshop with the Gujaga Foundation

1 October 2023

In the Centre for Creativity


Join Aunty Lola and Aunty Maxime Ryan from the La Perouse First Nations community to learn the cultural practise of Shellwork. This workshop is presented in dialogue with Sydney Opera House’s 50th Birthday installation, Whispers by Megan Cope.

Teacher's Resource

In this resource, find an artist statement, a behind the scenes video, activities and curriculum links.


A 50th Birthday celebratory workshop

On the occasion of Megan Cope's installation Whispers as part of Sydney Opera House’s 50th Birthday celebrations, join Aunty Maxine Ryan and Aunty Lola Ryan, First Nations artists from La Perouse for an afternoon of creating an artwork with local shells. This workshop is for all ages and is free (registrations required).

Shellwork is a unique practice in this the La Perouse community. It has been passed down from mother's, aunty's and grandmother's over generations. It originally began as a tourism market, where women and children would collect small shells along the beach and create art such as boomerangs, jewellery boxes and shoes to sell to the wider community. 

The community of La Perouse continues to create Shellwork to educate and share the knowledge of their old people with the broader community and younger generations. Shellwork Art is often exchanged as gifts to distinguished guests to Sydney such as Royalty. It still remains a significant part of their community as the traditional people of Coastal Sydney.

You may also like

A hand drawn picture of the Sydney Opera House on a clipboard
28 Apr – 25 Aug 2024

Draw the House

Create a range of drawings inspired by one of the world’s most iconic buildings. Once a month join like-minded creative souls to explore the Opera House and its surroundings through the eyes of an artist. Working with a different artist each month, explore various drawing techniques, and perspectives inspired by one of the world's most iconic buildings.

15 – 16 Jul 2024 Kids & Families

Make-Believe Masters

Ages 12 - 16 | Join us for a workshop on creating designs for set and costumes for live performance. Learn about theatrical design and creative world building for the stage. 

MISC. Artist Program

Register for an arts practice workshop through a queer lens for LGTBQIA+ teens and their friends. From a queer choir to a draw’n’sip (alcohol free), deepen or pick up a new creative skill and make some authentic community connections along the way! Workshop participants are drawn from an expression of interest process for young artists seeking development and support.

Checking availability