After an extensive and highly productive semester with Year 4, we are ready to open our first Little Exhibition in The Art Shed Gallery. Inspired by some of the art we saw together, the children dedicated several classes to the development of the ideas and the production of the works and installations. The title also came from one of the students: The Sea\e Room, a witty remark on the ideas of a room under the sea and one where you see and are constantly being seen. Only in going to the exhibition will you understand, so we’ll be waiting for you!
The exhibition stands as a culmination of the curating course undertaken by Year 4 since February in which they saw plenty of artworks, created their own, did several different activities on curating and exercised the interpretation and creation of meaning in art. With the Year 4 programme coming to an end, the children recently reflected on their experiences, their opinions about art and exhibitions and the idea of potentially becoming artists or curators in the future.
Divided in groups to discuss the topics, the exercise produced intriguing results—especially in the conversations and their justifications for the answers. Most of the pupils stated they liked art, that it ‘makes you feel happy and it’s fun’, that it allows you to ‘express your feelings’ and that it ‘shows your creativity and talent’. Now when it came to the possibility of becoming an artist or curator in the future, most tend to imagine themselves as artists, though somewhat less so as curators. The explanation could be in the simple fact that at Year 4 age, we tend to prefer more dynamic activities such as making art—drawings, paintings, sculptures, not to mention modelling a shark head coming out of the wall and mutilating and transforming old toys—then the more contemplative efforts of grasping possible meanings behind artworks. Looking from the outside it is possible to see, however, that without realising it they already act as curators in many ways.
Their texts about The Sea\e Room exhibition give us a glimpse of that. The entertaining stories and explanations behind the installation, the connections they made between the works and the space, their awareness of the viewer and the impact it might have on their feelings rendered elaborate descriptions of the show. On a second thought, children love not only story telling but to create their own. Give them a reason to travel into intricate and mysterious worlds and they will readily take it. With the right amount of creativity and space for them to explore exhibitions and take part in artworks, they won’t be disappointed. One answer was unanimous. Do you like art? Yes! In their words, ‘It’s cool and fun and there is a meaning of history behind it all’. So open up this world to them, perhaps feed them some teasers and let their imagination do the rest.
The Sea\e Room
The Art Shed Gallery
Rutland Road, London E9 7JS
Preview: June 6th, 2013, 5:30-9pm