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Kids: Contemporary Australia

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Kids: Contemporary Australia, Gemma Smith project, ‘Constructive activity for children’

Kids: Contemporary Australia

Contemporary Australia: Optimism
15 November 2008 – 22 February 2009  GoMA

For 'Contemporary Australia: Optimism', the Children's Art Centre presented interactive art works and projects created by exhibiting artists especially for children and families. Spanning both levels of the Children's Art Centre and the Gallery spaces, the projects encouraged children to discover the ways that Australian artists consider their world. To help young visitors to engage with the works on display, art work labels especially for kids featured throughout the exhibition.

Artist Projects

Gemma Smith  
Constructive activity for children

Gemma Smith shares her fascination with colour, shape and construction in this large-scale interactive installation. Set in a darkened space lit with black light, children select from a range of glowing fluorescent shapes to create three-dimensional assemblages. The finished constructions become part of an evolving display of illuminated colour and shape.

Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro
Rock the house 
Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro set a creative challenge for children to re-create miniature versions of their own home or dream home. Comprising interior and exterior plans, the making and drawing components of the activity encourage thinking about the home from many different perspectives.  

Michael Leunig 

Cartoonist, artist and philosophical thinker, Michael Leunig engages young hearts and minds with his large-scale installation painting exploring optimistic thoughts and stories especially for kids. Spanning the length of the Children’s Art Centre’s Gallery, children are led on an imaginative journey as they make their way through the space. 

Robert MacPherson 
The swamp rats drawing project
Robert MacPherson’s drawing project encourages children to use their imaginations to draw pictures from the language signs of his ‘Mayfair (swamp rats)’ series. Children are invited to make two drawings — one for themselves and one as a gift for the artist. The drawings of bait, sea creatures and fishing gear will enter the artist’s collection to extend his ongoing interests in the unique approaches that children take to creating images.

Gabrielle de Vietri 
Just add hope!

Based on text from self-help books, daily horoscopes and philosophical thoughts, Just add hope! features the artist’s choice of phrases relating to themes of optimism. In a computer touch screen activity, participants mix and match the artist’s phrases and send text messages to friends and family; the messages are then shared with fellow Gallery visitors on large animated screens.

Emily Floyd
Make a manifesto
Make a manifesto brings together two of Emily Floyd’s ideas relating to themes of optimism — the art manifestos of the past and the environmental challenges of the future. In a permaculture garden setting, children are invited to write their own manifesto and employ permaculture practices to create paper mulch from the manifestos to germinate new life.  

Thomas Meadowcroft 
Walk the car 
A large-scale sound theatre introduces children to Thomas Meadowcroft’s experimental approach to music. Relating to his sound work Monaro Eden 2008 in the exhibition, children are invited to take a different car journey and create endless patterns and sequences of car sounds as they travel through the space.

Arlene TextaQueen
Rides with the brides
Drawing with artist Arlene TextaQueen is on the menu at the Gallery of Modern Art’s River Cafe and Foyer Bistro. Diners can take part in a collaborative project featuring activities and imagery by the artist on tabletop sheets. With the artist’s medium of choice — the texta pen, children and families complete the pictures which make each tablecloth a unique collaboration.

Michael Zavros 
Drawn to notions of beauty and ideas about framing, Michael Zavros has designed an art studio environment inspired by his practice especially for kids. Featuring fascinating displays of natural curiosities in decorated cabinets, children are invited to observe, explore and make their own studio drawings on gold-framed templates. Once complete, the drawings contribute to a salon-style art display. 

Tony Albert
Alien nation embassy
Tony Albert’s interest in aliens responds to both the alienation of Indigenous people within their own country and the ‘alien invasion’ of Australia by Europeans in 1788. Especially for kids, Tony Albert has created the Alien nation embassy and invites all earthlings to become honorary citizens — but not before passing the ‘citizenship test’! The multimedia installation features a population counter, video footage of the artist with the aliens, and electronic swipe cards for kids to access secret alien information.

Kathy Temin 
Arrange your own trees

Relating to the installation My monument: White forest, Kathy Temin has created an interactive based on the classic children’s activity of fuzzy felt. Children are invited to create their own landscapes by arranging white felt trees against blue felt skies to make peaceful places for young minds to imagine and feel at home.

For more information, visit Contemporary Australia: Optimism.