Discovering Contemporary Art For Kids at the MCA’s Art Safari

  • Toddlers
    Preschoolers
    Family

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By: Caitlin Wright, ellaslist explorer 

My four-year-old daughter was captivated as soon as she entered the dedicated children’s space at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. The first thing she saw was a table of craft with stickers, glue, textas and interesting shapes to cut out. On the wall was a brightly coloured ‘Art Safari’ banner. Then at the far end of the room there was a floor area with sequinned cushions and bright fabrics strewn around.


Image: Sun Xun, Untitled (MCA Residency Painting), 2018, installation view, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, 2018, mixed media, image courtesy the artist and Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, © the artist

We were at the Museum of Contemporary Art for their monthly Art Safari program. Each month, eight pre-school aged children and their grown-ups take a journey through the current exhibitions. It’s all about exploring contemporary art from a child’s perspective. Looking at the way art is created and how children can create their own art.

This month, the theme was animals and colour. We started by sitting on the bright cushions with our artist educator Cara and her puppet Petunia. All the kids had a chance to tell everyone their names and what their favourite animal was. Then they were all given brightly coloured pieces of felt to play with. The kids were encouraged to create an animal with their felt – we saw monsters with beards, cats with huge ears and slithering snakes. A perfect, simple introduction to how varied art can be.


Image: Sun Xun, Maniac Universe, 2018, installation view, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, 2018, mixed media on bark paper, UV-A light, commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and Edouard Malingue Gallery, image courtesy the artist and Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, © the artist

The next step was exploring the Museum. We visited three exhibitions - just enough to give the kids a taste of real art. The definite highlight was Chinese artist Sun Xun’s works. The kids loved the brightly coloured dragons, birds and Chinese lions. They also loved that one particular work had been painted beyond the canvas and all over the walls as well. Hopefully it doesn’t inspire similar wall-based artworks at home!

After visiting the exhibitions, we went back into the room to get stuck into some hands-on art making. The kids were encouraged to use the materials provided to create their own paper animal. All the kids really loved this activity and were reluctant to stop when the time was up.

The final step was to share their art with each other and appreciate each other’s originality. There were all sorts of creations – birds with pipe cleaner wings, dragons with long tails and some that were perhaps only recognisable to the artist.


Image: Sun Xun, Untitled (MCA Residency Painting), 2018, installation view, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, 2018, mixed media, image courtesy the artist and Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, © the artist

If you have a budding artist, the MCA’s Art Safari program is a lovely way to learn more about contemporary art and encourage their creativity. Even the adults can learn a thing or two!

The Details


When: The next Art Safari programs are on Tuesday 16 & Tuesday 26 October 2018 
Where: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, the Rocks Sydney. 
Ages: For children aged 3–5 years and their grown-ups.
Cost: General admission $24. Parents and carers are free.
For more information and to buy your tickets, see the website

 

 

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