Our Art Museum Children’s Season 2012 experience

It was a bright sunny Saturday morning and we were in high spirits since we’ve been looking forward to this for the past week.  I had initially decided that we could give this year’s exhibition a miss, since we’d been for 2 consecutive years, and I heard that the solar flowers and the “dress up velcro” sections were repeated. But a few friends said they still enjoyed it, so when I heard that it was only ending in mid-August, we decided to go instead of vegetating at home.

Happy at the start! Thought it was clever that they placed the flowers this way this year, since the need to prevent children from touching/destroying the exhibit is avoided!

B wasn’t sure what this was all about, but was quite amused anyhow

After us parents paid $10 a piece for entry (free for children aged 6 and below), we started at this exhibit which reminded me of “sand art”.

Lovely designs by a Japanese artist, and the interactive portion was to have people treading all over the intricate art.  Reminds me of how this applies to ancient ruins.

On the first floor were two awesome art and craft studio spaces. The doorway above pays tribute to the humble clothespeg, used to make designs in the clay flowers.

Wandering around happily – such a great idea to make museums accessible to children to inculcate familiarity and a love for such spaces from young. So when we say “museum” K thinks “fun” not “stuffy”.

Quite engaged.

K loved stamping and colouring, and eventually pasting her piece up on the wall to join the others – so simple yet so effective in having children see how they participate in the creation of a larger piece of art.

Loved the riot of colour on the other side of the “clothespeg” doorway

Great way of exhibiting the “tools” and their “effects on clay”

We got a chance to try our hand at creating some designs on pre-made clay magnets too!

K’s slightly clay dusted fingers. Our flowers were more bluish, drying to white, instead of the sand coloured ones displayed.  Perhaps the materials were different, and perhaps that was also why the stamped images were not as crisp? In any case, guess the ones they gave out couldn’t have been too soft, otherwise they’d not survive handling by children.

Another cute way of displaying the kuay bangkit lookalike flowers.

B trying to get a piece of the action at the clay flower craft table

We arrived a bit before noon, so we managed to catch the noon film screening. Only after we left did I realise that we had watched the only longish (24 min) feature film – Lost and Found, based on a book by Oliver Jeffers.  It was such a charming, sweet, cute (how CUTE is that waddly penguin? reminds me of B) film that almost had me in tears towards the end.

K quite enjoyed it, whilst B preferred romping around, climbing up and down the steps, sofas, wandering in and out the room, making “friends” with the kids around her, et cetera et cetera.

There was such beauty in the fact that the characters never spoke, and the story was only told via a narrator, which enhanced the “storybook feel” of the film, and made it easy for the youngest of pre-speech children to understand, just by looking at the images and actions of the characters.

K needed a toilet break, and I was suitably impressed by the thoughtfulness at providing a stool at the washbasin! So impressed I had to chronicle it. Well done, SAM folks!

Next was this boxy space, which was also simple but enjoyable for my kids.

Something for everyone – B enjoyed prying the boxes out

K enjoyed doodling, writing, creating with papa.

K putting her creation back, thus contributing to the overall art.  I thought that it was quite clever to use boxes, since there are 6 surfaces to decorate. lots of space for lots of children to participate.

Spot our box?

Personally, I enjoyed the pithy sayings. And particularly agreed with the one above (there were 2-3 others).  To paraphrase the good book, what’s the use of all the knowledge in the world if you lose your imagination? Such a precious, rare, under-valued commodity in our society of awards, conformity and rote-learning.
The next room was the “dress me up” velcro area, which I was not interested in forgot to take photos of, since we had interacted with that last year.  K had fun sticking stuff around, and B tried to steal escape with some cake decor pieces.  All restituted, for the record. : )

On the highest floor (fourth), was 5QU1D (hope i got that right).  It lights up in various colour intensities according to a motion sensor. Ok, that’s totally unromantic.  The story is that it gets ‘happier’ when more friends come near to it, though the ‘boundary rope’ was meant to keep it from becoming too friendly and coming to touch the kiddies.

Nice installation in a dark, calming space.  A bit of modern art i guess.

Our last stop was this ultravoilet light space, where kids can participate by folding origami flowers, butterflies, foilage and adding them to the walls.  K I learnt how to fold a butterfly!  Her favourite part was to stand on the bench and show me how tall she was (“I can touch the leaves, mummy! See?”  “oh yes, WOW! you’re soooooooo tall now!!”)

All in all, it was a great way to spend a morning, and I must count this as one of the outings that the kids really enjoyed. I used to think that there’d be crowds on weekends, but last year there were hordes from at least one childcare centre on the weekday I went, so much for weekdays. Perhaps it was also because we went very late into the season, and most families had already gone. So we had a lot of space to ourselves, hardly had to queue for anything or wait for table space to craft.  Whilst it was not deserted, there were just the right number of visitors to create a relaxed yet not lonesome atmosphere.

Here’s to many more Children Seasons, Singapore Art Museum!

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