Issue 21:2 | June 2001 | Art and Childhood
Art and Childhood
Issue 21:2 | June 2001


The Paradox of Autistic Art
Certain autistic children whose linguistic ability is virtually non-existent can draw natural scenes from memory with astonishing accuracy. In particular their drawings display convincing perspective. In contrast, normal children of the same preschool age group and even untrained adults draw primitive schematics or symbols of objects which they can verbally identify.
The Child in Photography
In the century and a half since photography allowed humanity an historical moment of self-consciousness - a way to see ourselves as never before - photographers have been drawn to recording youth, especially children. A child standing before the photographer's lens provided a dual perspective on humanity - at once eternally young and yet, clad in clothes to be soon outgrown, ephemeral. McFarlane looks to the work of Bill Henson, Tracey Moffatt, Ian Dodd, Sebastio Salgado, Deborah Paauwe, Anne Ferran, Sandy Edwards, Jon Rhodes and Roger Scott.
Remembering Jesus: The Child in Australian Aboriginal Art
Andrew discusses the work of various Australian artists under a generic theme of the blakborg, a term he uses with regards to the re-creation of the blak body. A fleshy cyborg, much like the Star Trek Borg family, the blakborgacts as a symbol: alluding to the Western preoccupation with aliens and simultaneously reminding Europeans of their own alien status in the Australian landscape. The works of Julie Gough, Tracey Moffatt, Destiny Deacon, Bianca Beetson, John Packham, Les Midikuria, James Gleeson, Richard Billingham and Marc Quinn are here examined.
Children Who Hurt: A Film Made by Young People
Not a documentary, but an eloquent testimony, Hurt was made by 250 kids from five New South Whales country towns. After a series of workshops they shot, recorded, wrote and performed in this collage of vignettes, dramatised scenes, songs and memories, aided by writers and directors Philip Crawford and Matthew Priestly. Their stories are often unbelievably sad - what they make of them is intense, lyrical, stoic and heartbreaking. Hurt was made by the award-winning arts company BIGhART, whose brief is to pilot arts based projects designed to re-engage 'outsiders' or marginalised people with their community.
Play Things: Some Contemporary Artists and their Objects
The function and materiality of the art object, when investigated by artists, often evokes a childlike sense. Be they miniatures, process-related installations or large minimalist works, these objects call upon the viewer to look at them as if for the first time. As so much contemporary art retreats from theory and aims to locate itself squarely in the everyday, the art objects social function is also more assured, bringing the artist and the audience closer together. Paradoxically, this use-effect is best achieved by artists by emphasising the dysfunction of the object and some of those who best achieve this are Paul Saint, Stephen Birch, Jean Arp, Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelley, Tom Friedman, Robert Pulie, Simryn Gill, Mikala Dwyer and David Griggs.
Focus: No Man is an Island: A Two Part Reading
Radok here recognises the issue of nationality present in the work of German artist Nikolaus Lang, an artist who often visits Australia to make field trips, to research, to make art and to exhibit. Since his first visit as a participant in the 1979 Sydney Biennale, Lang has been collaborating with Aboriginal people, as his work strongly relates to the origins of art and the origins of the materials of art, often literally the pigments that form artworks. Parts I and II discuss these facts and some of the ideas imbedded in his collaborative works with Indigenous artists Dorrie Gibson, Andrew Gibson and John Turpie.
Teenage Riot: Representations of Adolescence in Contemporary Art
The child has always been a favoured subject for artists. Recent exhibitions both in Australia and internationally address the shift from a sanguine vision of childhood to alternative representations, where children are presented as desirable and desirous, menacing yet vulnerable, widely unpredictable and ultimately mysterious. Artistic works by Robert Gober, Ronnie Van Hout, Larry Clark, Katie Siegel, Justine Kurland, Anna Gaskell, Diane Arbus, Di Barrett, Mark McDean, Anne Ferran, Polixeni Papapetrou, Bill Henson, Pat Brissington, Tracey Moffatt, Deborah Paauwe, Mona Hatoum and Nic Nicosia all help to illuminate the complexities of adolescence, a subject of ambivalence wedged between contradictory discourses and spaces of transition.
Engaging a Young Audience at the Queensland Art Gallery
The Queensland Art Gallery's recent series of exhibitions aimed specifically at young children represents a dramatic shift in many of Australias leading art galleries to create a more stimulating and interactive space for children to visit. For children to be involved with the material present, the design of each exhibition is a critical factor with the height of an artwork being altered to allow children to easily view it, as well as the way the artwork is arranged in the space and importantly the use of colour. Some of the childrens exhibitions which have been held by the Queensland Art Gallery are located through this text, including a day at the beach, the Kid's APT and animals who think they are people.
Kidding Around: Children in the Visual Arts
Throughout the twentieth century the spontaneous, vibrant art of children has provided inspiration and insight to avant-garde artists the world over. Although artists and educators have acknowledged the potential of children's art and the importance of nurturing creativity for over a century, it has taken considerably longer for government and the arts infrastructure to realise the needs of young artists. Lindquist looks at some of the international and local initiatives fostering young artists, concluding that a greater respect and nurturing of child art via a shift in the priorities of the Australia Council and other arts funding bodies is essential.
Children's Art Program at Sydney Children's Hospital
The childrens art program at Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick, has revealed that exhibitions of children's art, in the context of a child-oriented environment, are at least as significant to their target audience as art by adult professionals. The children's art program is administered by a company called Identity, Environment and Art, which specialises in developing art and cultural programs, primarily in health facilities. The plan included commissioned artworks by professional artists, murals, interactive wall panels and integrated mosaics.
Sampling our Child-Friendly Museums
This text samples three innovative programs situated in Melbourne, Cairns and Canberra for kids of various ages. The Cairns Regional Gallery held an exhibition of lino prints by Torres Strait Islander artist Alick Tipoti which attracted 35 school bookings (over 500 children). The Children's Museum at Melbourne Museum opened in October 2000 and held the exhibition 123 Grow!, about the magic of how things, including ourselves, grow. The National Portrait Gallery, Canberra had a showing of student portraiture entitled Hearts/Heads: Headspace II in September 2001.
The Child Guides Program
One of the challenges facing galleries dealing with contemporary art is to persuade visitors to be open-minded about whats on display. All too often it's not the art that's the problem, but the context in which it is placed. Macgregor is here responding to an issue she feels strongly about, especially as it relates to the viewing of art amongst children. The Child Guides program was an initiative at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham which Macgregor was involved with. The program recruited children from local schools to guide visitors informally around the exhibition, and helped to enhance the childrens communicative skills, gain knowledge of a range of contemporary art practices and to develop a sense of self-importance.
Primary Non-Producers: The Arts in Crisis in Public Education
In this article Orchard is looking at the nature of art teaching in primary schools rather than focusing on the debate surrounding the value of arts learning and education. Although art has in the past decade become a formal part of the curriculum across Australia there is still a huge dearth of support material for teachers, particularly those in isolated areas. Orchard introduces some of the support programs which have been implemented in various schools, including the Department of Education & Training & Employment (DETE) and South Australian Living Artists (SALA) programs.
Polemic: Two Myths about Blue Poles
By now - fifty years after the painting was made and thirty years after if was acquired by the National Gallery of Australia - there are two well-established myths about Jackson Pollack's Blue Poles. Brook here outlines and discusses these, but draws particular attention to the myth that the celebrated museum exhibit called Blue Poles is intrinsically, and not merely by fleeting reputation, a great work of art.
Boyd Webb
Curated by Jenny Harper Brisbane City Gallery 8 March- 29 April 2001
The Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Award
Werribee Park, Victoria 21 March - 13 May 2001
East of Somewhere
Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Sydney 10 March - 29 April
Liminal Narratives
Zofia Sleziak 31 March - 8 April 2001 The Chapel Adelaide
The Archibald Prize
Art Gallery of NSW March 2001
Art of the Sacred Heart
Arts Project Australia Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide 31 January - 25 February 2001
Anatomy of a Metaphor
Madeleine Kelly Modus Gallery Fortitude Valley, Brisbane 6 - 22 April 2001
Myth and Machines
Andy Jones Moonah Art Centre Tasmania 16 - 28 February 2001
Tense Past - Narratives of Gaps and Silences
Julie Gough Plimsoll Gallery, Hobart 17 - 23 February 2001
Promised Land: Nien Schwarz
Perth International Arts Festival 2001 event The Church Gallery, Claremont
Lace - Contemporary Perspectives
Anne Farren (Aus), Suzumi Noda (Japan), Pam Gaunt (Aus), Michael Brennand-Wood (UK), Pilar Rojas (Spain) CRAFTWEST Centre for Contemporary Craft Perth International Arts Festival event. 7 February - 24 March

Touring to Kalgoorlie Art Centre July 2001 Interstate and regionally in 2002
Mildura Palimpsest #4
Mildura, various sites 19 April - 20 May 2001
Geoffrey Goldie: A Survey Show: 1968-2000
Drawings, Paintings, Etchings,Set & Costume Designs Gipps Street Gallery, Melbourne Nov/Dec 2000
Male Nude: A Private View
Curator: Eugene Barilo von Reisberg Charles Nodrum Gallery Jan/Feb 2001