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Interactive art exhibition for young poeple

19 November 2007

Children love art galleries, but parents sometimes are reluctant to take their enthusiastic charges on a visit.  

Christchurch Art Gallery is keen to involve its younger citizens in enjoying art works. I See Red, which will run over the summer holidays  is an interactive art exhibition which will appeal to children of all ages and give parents a chance to relax and also enjoy the art works.                                                  

Curator Ken Hall says the exhibition features 19 art works, most from the Gallery’s collection, including some very significant works which have not been seen for many years. All of course, feature variations on a red theme. As well as the artworks, children can work with puzzles, enter a competition, construct an artist-designed origami house and make their own temporary artwork using found objects.

“All the works will be well protected so parents do not have to worry about straying fingers,’’ says Hall. “We want to make it a lively experience which will stimulate children’s imaginations and minds and help them think about some of the stories and ideas connected to the colour red.’’

On display are works in a wide range of styles.

“We are pleased to be able to show Petrus van der Velden’s rosy-cheeked Head of a Girl – ‘Bubbles’ which has been recently cleaned and reframed, and which had not been shown for a long time. Colin McCahon’s Red and Black Landscape is another extraordinary painting that most people haven’t known was in the collection.

“We have Yuk King Tan’s mysterious mask faces covered with spectacular veils of falling red which create a feeling of celebration, comedy and energy and Anne Noble’s Mouth from her Ruby’s Room series of photographs.

“The red theme is a great one to work with,’’ Hall says. “Red can be in your face and attention seeking, and the attention red wants, red gets. Noble’s enormous cheeky photograph of her daughter ‘s mouth gives more than an eyeful of the protruding tongue covered in chewing gum.’’

Dick Frizzell’s controversial lithograph From Mickey to Tiki Tu Meke is also presented. Through a swift series of changes, Mickey Mouse becomes ancestral tiki, extending his bright red tongue in the threatening pukana gesture.

“It raises the question who is threatening who,’’ says Hall. “If the expression seeing red can mean getting cross, then perhaps the tiki does not like this transformation and is surprised by this artist and whatever he thinks he’s up to. This work has generated a lot of interesting debate.’’

Christchurch Art Gallery director Jenny Harper says the exhibition continues the gallery’s aim to interest a wide range of visitors.

“This is a comprehensive range of works which will appeal to children and provide good points of discussion for younger visitors.’’

I See Red is at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu from 5  December 2007. Admission free.





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