In the interactive project 'Swags and Swamp Rats' leading Australian artist Robert MacPherson takes children on a journey, introducing them to the people, places and objects that inspire him and his work. Young visitors can engage with MacPherson's ideas and artworks through hands-on and multimedia activities that explore aspects of Australian life, history, language, and some interesting characters. The exhibition invites young visitors to discover the language used by the drovers, make their own drover character as part of a digital interactive, and draw inspiration from the artist's work MAYFAIR (SWAMP RATS) NINETY-SEVEN SIGNS FOR C.P., J.P., B.W., G.W. & R.W. 1994–95 to create their own picture. Children can also have fun interacting with a constellation of stars and explore a day in the life of a drover.
Robert MacPherson has created an alter ego called Robert Pene, who is a ten-year old student at St Joseph's Convent in Nambour, north of Brisbane. As Robert Pene the artist has drawn thousands of pictures that explore Australian history as well as depicting landscapes, animals and portraits.
Robert Pene will guide children and families through the exhibition space, offering fun facts along the way.
LEARN THE LINGO
Robert MacPherson often includes words in his artworks and is especially fond of words and phrases that are now considered old fashioned. Many of these words were used by Robert's childhood heroes the drovers.
The artist has selected his favourite drover words, which have been printed on blocks. Children are invited to use these word blocks to create a sentence, story or poem. Some of the blocks are double sided with the old-fashioned term in red and the contemporary equivalent on the back.
In this multimedia interactive, young visitors are invited to create their own drover character using a selection of facial features and accessories drawn from Robert MacPherson's 2400 pictures of boss drovers in the Collection artwork 1000 FROM POEMS: 1000 BOSS DROVERS ("YELLOW LEAF FALLING")FOR H.S. 1996-2014.
This Collection work will be on display as part of 'Robert MacPherson: The Painter's Reach' and a slideshow of individual drawings will be projected in the Children's Art Centre space.
The immersive installation 'Dry River' includes a display of Robert MacPherson's artwork DRY RIVER: 20 FROG POEMS, IN MEMORY OF ALEX WILSON MASTER HORSEMAN 1996-1998. This work is comprised of 20 canvas swag covers with the names of stock routes, stations and other significant landscape features stencilled on them in black paint.
UNDER THE MILKY WAY
Drawing on Robert MacPherson's interest in the Southern Cross, children are invited to make their own constellation of stars in this immersive sound and light interactive activity.
THE SWAMP RATS DRAWING PROJECT
The swamp rats drawing project encourages children to draw inspiration from the words featured in Robert MacPherson's Collection artwork MAYFAIR: (SWAMP RATS- NINETY-SEVEN SIGNS FOR C.P., J.P., B.W., G.W., AND R.W.1994-1995 to create two drawings – one picture to keep and one to send to the artist. The swamp rats drawing project will become a fantastic collection of children's drawings for the artist to keep and maybe use again.
DAWN 'TIL DUSK
Young visitors can experience a day in the life of a drover travelling the Birdsville Track. As visitors walk through the corridor space they can learn about the stations and homesteads drovers would have passed along this route and experience different sounds of the bush from morning to night.