Playtime gets artful at APT8 Kids

From curious babies to restless teens, there’s something for all ages at APT8 this summer.
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Image: Children’s workshop for Angela Tiatia, Looking Back 2015. Photo: Mark Sherwood

The 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT8) at Brisbane’s Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) isn’t just for grown-ups. The APT8 Kids program, which has been developed in tandem with 28 artists, provides opportunity for youngsters of all ages to participate. 

Maud Page, Deputy Director, Collection and Exhibitions said APT8 Kids allowed artists to extend their practice for a new audience. ‘What artists develop with the Children’s Art Centre become part of their practice, artworks in their own sense. We’ve got a whole group of people devoted to these projects, from architects, designers, curators, to multimedia specialists, who have all had quite a lot of experience in building these projects in the past.’

Simon Wright, Assistant Director, Learning and Public Engagement at QAGOMA said Kids’ APT had been a key component of the exhibition series since 1999, with a focus on active participation and learning outcomes. ‘Our programs have a direct engagement with kids from when they’re toddlers, and then we tangibly build on those links from grade one.’ 

One APT8 Kids project which promises to engage and entertain is from outspoken artist Richard Bell. The video project takes Andy Warhol’s infamous utterance about 15 minutes of fame as a jumping-off point. Bell has headed into classrooms in regional and metropolitan Queensland, and interviewed schoolchildren about their gifts, talents and ambitions, as well as their take on art museums. ‘From the mouths of babes come the most beautiful opinions about why they will be famous and what museums should be doing in the 21st century to occupy their minds,’ said Wright. ‘It’s a real opportunity for kids to have a voice.’ 

South Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa will present The Mandala of Flowers, a large floor-based project where kids are able to transform thousands of plastic pieces into their own installation, beneath Choi’s own glittering canopy installation for APT8, Cosmos. Wright said that during a trial run the results were fantastic. ‘Kids respond to these piles of plastic in beautiful, instinctive ways. Immediately they started sorting them, recognising patterns, and building things. 

‘These tactile experiences involving major contemporary artworks are a wonderful lead-in to their relationship with the museum in general.’ 

As a young Indian boy growing up in the UK, Hetain Patel liked to disguise himself in a Spiderman costume, relishing the freedom of anonymity. Now all grown up and an artist, Patel is inviting kids to come to QAGOMA during APT8 dressed as their favourite superhero, where their families will be able to upload their photograph via social media to become part of a digital display in the exhibition space. 

APT8 will see a continuation of QAGOMA’s tradition of high-quality children’s publications with the publication of a book,  Draw, Make, Create. It will also reprise the successful Kids On Tour program which will ensure no-one misses out, as selected activities visit over 50 regional and remote venues across Queensland in early 2016. 

So whether you’ve got a curious baby, a temperamental toddler or a restless teen in tow, there is something to engage and inspire all ages at APT8 Kids. 

APT8 takes place from 21 November 2015 – 10 April 2016. For more information on the APT8 Kids program, visit the website.

Chloe Wolifson
About the Author
Chloe Wolifson is a Sydney-based independent art writer and curator who works across artist-run, commercial and public domains.
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