The Children’s Gallery at the Ipswich Art Gallery is Australia’s first dedicated art gallery for children. It is a place where children can imagine, create and discover. The current exhibition is – I wished I lived in Wonderland. Emerging artist Rose Skinner created this highly detailed installations using found objects, plastic, coloured sugar,lollies, toys and furniture. From 26 June until 24 July Rose worked, in public view, to create I wish I lived in Wonderland. Wonderland is a unique installation created especially for the Children’s Gallery for an audience of children and families. The installation encourages children to explore, discover and imagine. Children are able to contribute to Wonderland by making small items for inclusion in the installation. They are also encouraged to respond to Wonderland by making their own artworks to take home.
Ben, Andrew and I visited the Children’s gallery again this morning for Morning Stories – an interactive story and art making session. Ben once again loved exploring the installation. He responds to the exhibition differently each time we visit. Initially he was just overwhelmed by all it entailed but now he is more focused looking intently at what there is to discover. Ben was especially focused this morning at the art making table. He snipped away with the scissors with great concentration. We were still at the table when everyone else had moved on. Those who know Ben know that this is very unusual!!
For anyone who is traveling this way or lives locally I would suggest that you pop in for a visit. They have focused sessions – Creative Cupcakes, Morning Stories, Toddler Wonderland, Baby Wonderland that you need to book for but otherwise there is always art making available. Expect the unexpected when you visit I wish I lived in Wonderland . It is even home to live rats living in renovated television sets.
I feel the need to let you know why I photograph and document Ben’s life. Originally Andrew set up the blog and I thought his suggestion for me to add to it was ridiculous – as a new mum I barely had enough time to shower. Well now I am hooked. I think It comes from my background. I have a Diploma of Photography and a Degree in Education – Early Childhood. Before Ben was born I was involved in the Ed Queensland Prep Trial with a focus on assessment. Assessment in Prep is documenting children’s learning. So it is natural for me to document Ben’s life. I can imagine some people who read the blog might think the entries aren’t that different to what most children do. And yes that is so but it is exciting for us because it is our son’s journey. I already look back at the earlier entries and am amazed at Ben’s development. I just wanted to let you know when I write on the blog I have my ‘Mummy Goggles’ on. Every step of Ben’s life is a wonderful adventure for us as a family. I love to blog about Ben and especially love when family and friends comment. I hope one day that Ben will also enjoy and appreciate the effort.
Over the last month Benjamin’s play has changed. He has gone from manipulating objects and role playing to the wonderful world of imaginative play. It is so much fun. He pretends to drive me to the shop and makes up wonderful stories about what he is going to buy. He carries around the pancake shake mix and pretends it is a CD player, presses buttons and begins to sing and dance. Yesterday he took all the threading laces, a colander and tongs and made spaghetti or hisghetti as he calls it. Anyone who comes to the house gets dragged off to have hisghetti. I look forward to the wonderful adventures that await!!
Ben and I headed off to the Art Gallery to the Wonderland exhibition this morning. This mornings activity was cup cake decorating. As the photos show the tables were filled with lollies, icing and cupcakes. When we arrived we were asked to sit on a mat and wait for the other parents and children to arrive. I immediately thought ‘oh no…. Ben sit still while the lollies and cakes are in full view’. But I looked around and saw ALL of the other children doing it so gave it a go. Well….. it lasted maybe one minute. He was just amazed by everything. Finally when we got started he wasn’t that interested in actually decorating but he was keen on eating. But again as I looked around the room Ben was the only child nibbling on the lollies. The other children are decorating the cakes!! When everyone was finished we were then invited to go and sit on the mat to eat the cakes. Well by this stage Ben had been sitting, nibbling and kind of decorating his cake for about twenty minutes. There was no way he was going to sit and eat his cake. He wanted to move. So we headed into the exhibition to look at all the amazing hidden treasures. I did feel like the other parents were looking at us with the disapproving look. But is it normal for a two year old to sit at a table full of lollies and not eat them? I am quickly learning there is no normal two year old!! Ben is now enjoying his cupcakes at home after a good run outside! We did have a great morning.
Ben’s favorite game today included a metal colander, wooden blocks, a mixing spoon and tongs. When I asked him what he was up to he replied ‘Spaghetti Yummy Yummy’ (in the tune of the Wiggles song – Fruit Salad Yummy Yummy). Who needs toys when you have an imagination! I joined him and we made spaghetti for ages. I love being Ben’s Mum!!!