Art Detectives

20 October 2006 – 25 November 2007

From the collections comes this delightful interactive exhibition for children of all ages, encouraging younger visitors to explore and connect with artworks.

Children will find themselves in an active role in the Art Detectives exhibition. Artworks are explored and learning encouraged, connected to a sense of play, through a range of interactive, hands-on activities designed to appeal to a range of ages.

Following on from the success of Ape to Zip, this latest offering is evidence of the Gallery’s strengthening commitment to younger audiences. Anchoring the detective trail is an eclectic mix of artworks by a range of New Zealand artists from the Gallery’s historical and contemporary collections. These are joined by two early-twentieth-century prints by Russian artist Mikhail Larionov (1881–1964), a small number of Chinese ceramic and glass treasures, and a late-eighteenth-century English engraving showing examples of Pacific and Māori carving – taonga collected during the voyages of Cook.

One of the primary aims of Art Detectives is to enable children to make connections with art and art-making processes. Following a series of clues, they are encouraged to look closer and discover links that exist between adjoining works. Lively worksheets, together with specially developed puzzles and games, offer further possibilities for learning and finding numerous points of entry and access.

While bringing diversity to the programme, Art Detectives also offers children a positive early experience of looking at and thinking about art. The goal of welcoming schools and family audiences is being increasingly valued among gallery and museum professionals worldwide. We, too, wish to acknowledge that children will decide the future value and place of art in our society.

KEN HALL

Ken Hall is Curatorial Assistant (Historical Art) at the Gallery. Extract taken from Bulletin 146 September – November 2006.

You can see all the works that were in Art Detectives here.