Are You Messin'?

Discover a special exhibition for children and their adults, featuring work by leading UK artists that is designed to be touched and explored.

Time

11:00am - 5:00pm

Date

Sun 03 July - Sun 18 September 2022

Get hands-on with artworks in this interactive exhibition that will immerse and captivate audiences of all ages, and inspire creativity in young visitors.

During the summer holidays, a special programme of free workshops, performances and storytelling will take place within the exhibition. Take a look below to see what's on.

Hear from Bluecoat Curator Gina Tsang and get a glimpse into how our fun, family friendly exhibition Are You Messin'? was created.

Film by Carl Davies, FACT Video Production

Gallery One

In Gallery One, Gregory Herbert (Liverpool), collaborating with children from the Bluecoat’s Out of the Blue after-school art clubs, presents an immersive sensory room with stimulating visuals, soothing sounds and comfy spaces - this room will provide a calm and engaging place to dwell.

Herbert is interested in the relationship between living organisms and their environments, particularly taking influence from models of collaboration and coexistence. Herbert has previously explored the movements of fungi, sea slugs, frogs, octopuses, sea anemones, gut flora and lichen in his practice, as well as incorporating food preparation and planting.

Herbert has been working with local children from Leamington Community Primary, Four Oaks Primary, Princes Primary and Smithdown Primary schools for nine weeks, collaboratively developing the artworks that will make up his sensory space. The children have been helping him to design the space as part of the Bluecoat’s ongoing commitment to making art accessible to all.

Gallery Two

Across Gallery Two, Katie Schwab (London/Glasgow) will layer textures, touchable surfaces and sculptures to create two rooms that invite tactile engagement and learning through play for all ages.

Katie Schwab is an artist with a special interest in early-mid twentieth-century design and craft; her practice is emphatically hands-on, collaborative and participatory. For her installations at the Bluecoat, Schwab takes inspiration from a number of twentieth-century art & design reference points. These include the iconic 1950s ceramic tile work produced by Carter of Poole that once decorated the Lewis’s department store public cafeteria in Liverpool city centre and ‘The Tactile Workshops’ book by Italian artist & designer Bruno Munari (1907-98). Munari’s book suggests making a touchable library for children - a collection of materials with different tactile qualities - which are reflected in Schwab’s installation which encourages children to experiment freely. This artwork is a joint commission in partnership with Collective (Edinburgh).

Gallery Three

Artists from the city and wider North present ‘inspiration works’ - prints, drawings and sculptures - as the starting point for creative responses, playfully displayed in a hands-on making artist studio specially designed and scaled for children. The space will feature artworks by Penny Davenport, Kate Hodgson, Aliyah Hussain, Fauziya Johnson, Josie Jenkins, Kohenoor Kamal, Emily Lansley, Millie Toyin Olateju, Niloo Sharifi, Linny Venables with furniture by Crown Building Studios.

The children’s artist studio, complete with making resources, will be animated with regular free live and pre-recorded artist workshops. Bookable activities aimed at babies and toddlers (0-3) and children (4-11 years old) including story telling, demonstrations of techniques and sensory play sessions, will take place mid-week during the summer holidays. The full programme of workshops and events including dates and how to book will be publicly announced by July 2022.

Gallery Four

Children and families can enjoy a contemplative library space with a specially selected reading list including dual language books focused on creativity and identity. The room will be embellished with a hanging mobile by Millie Toyin Olateju (Liverpool). Millie Toyin Olateju makes colourful abstract paintings and drawings that are the result of free play with her materials. Spontaneous and process led, they are a means to connect to the present moment and joyfully explore colour, shape and texture. Her new artwork in at the Bluecoat will take the abstract forms and shapes from her paintings and translate these into a mobile.

Funded and supported by

The N Smith Charitable Trust

Katie Schwab's commission is in partnership with Collective, Edinburgh

Out of the Blue is supported by the Ironmongers' Company