A world class exhibition of Tasmanian contemporary art curated with children in mind. Seriously an opportunity not to be missed.
Anyone who’s been following the ‘Life at…’ Series on ABC (based on the more involved research of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children) knows how critical creativity is to our children’s overall success.
This creativity is not talking about their ability to draw a nice picture of Nan for us to display on the fridge, but rather their ability to think creatively and apply that to all aspects of their life.
This is what Moonah Arts Centre is doing so well in their current exhibition; STAND BACK curated by Josie Hurst. (As well as introducing the young tots to a contemporary art gallery – and every creative growing mind should get a good dose of the pure creative thinking applied in contemporary art!)
The joy of this exhibition is that it talks to the child, but doesn’t ‘talk down’ at them. The art is exquisite, and accessible, and it is a joy to watch as the children navigate the space with their program investigating the art that is hung for them, at a child’s eye level.
The gallery catalogues are what impressed me most, perfectly considered for the young viewers. These beautifully presented little books come apart to form a series of cards (one for each artwork). On the back of each artwork there is simple accessible information about that work, what the artist was trying to achieve – and even additional information about something the child might like to try themselves.
Upon entering the gallery we laid out our cards in the corner of the gallery. The children each chose one, and then set out to find the work they had chosen. We then read the card, talked about the work, how it was made, what the artist was saying in the work… And then ran back excitedly to get the next card for what they wanted to explore next.
Now, encouraging children to run in a gallery is not necessarily the best model, and this ‘cards in the corner’ method is only one way of approaching the gallery. But for my children this was the perfect gallery experience and they can’t wait to go to more galleries! (For active 4 and 5 year olds, this impressed me!)
Questions on the cards such as ‘what do you think this work sounds like’ sparked conversations about the work that I never would have anticipated. Anicas favourite work was of the inside of a beating heart (according to her), Anne Morrisons Camouflage, 2015. Elkas favourite work she told us was of the 3 little pigs houses (and one more) – Paul Gundrys Suburban Bushland, 2011.
As an adult (with an honours degree in fine art under my belt) I was not disappointed at what the gallery had to offer adults either. There is no sense that the work has been ‘dumbed down for the kids.’ I enjoyed my time there as much as the kids, and had plenty to keep myself occupied with as the kids enjoyed adding their own creations to Janine Morris’s Mater, 2015.
Over all we spent a good solid 30min engrossed in the gallery (right up until closing time), we’ve spent a good deal of time with the gallery cards afterwards, and we’ll head back again with friends to see more another day soon. I can’t recommend the experience highly enough!
March 6 – April 4 2015
Monday to Friday: 10am – 5pm
Saturday: 10am – 2pm
Moonah Arts Centre
65 Hopkins Street, Moonah TAS