1 Stops

Play is an integral part of our lives, through play we learn how our bodies move, how to interact with other beings around us, and about our own personal set of emotions. Quite often there is a general risk involved in play,that of an unknown –will you trip and fall, will you like the mark you make on a canvasor carve into wood,will you win or lose,will those around you laugh at your joke? All of these play-based experiences help us to build skills of resiliency and creativity.

Play nourishes every aspect of children's development. Play develops the foundation of intellectual, social, physical, and emotional skills necessary for success in school and in life. It "paves the way for learning" (Canadian Council on Learning, 2006, p. 2)

This exhibition features works from the AFK Teaching Collection that exemplify a creative process of play and inquiry, through exploring materials, storytelling, playing with words, considering how place inspires us to play–like the Cheakamus Centre --and last but not least playing with food. Art can often be cloaked in academic mystery, but in this exhibit, we hope that viewers willf eel welcome to embrace feelings of laughter, wonder, connection and the awe of exploration. You don’t have to know what “it” means, just take a little time to listen to what the art makes you feel and think of. Take the time and dream of the different stories you and the art co-create. For those of us that are older, consider what the seven-year-old you would think of these art works.

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” –Pablo Picasso.

How might the following threads of inquiry guideourengagement with this exhibition?

  • •How does play help us to imagine our world?
  • •How can play build our sense of belonging and connect us to others?
  • •What do we learn when we play?

Mentorship is an underlying thread in this exhibition. The influence and mentorship of Gordon Smith is at the core of so many things we do here at AFK, including assembling this teaching exhibition.The relationship between a mentor and a mentee is crucial to risk taking: As a mentee one must feel trust, safety, and respectin order to take risks and to try new things and new directions, but you also must feel challenged by a mentor in order to be pushed beyond the place where you currently are.

As an introductory image to this exhibit we chose KenojuakAshevak’s Between Friends, as to us it symbolizes the trust, safety, and respect that friendship and mentorship gives us to take risks and to play.

We have grouped the works in the exhibition into the following six Big Ideas or thematic areas:

  • •Play, Relationships, and Connection
  • •Playing with Materials and Mark-making•Play and Process
  • •Playing with Words
  • •Play in the Natural World
  • •Playing with Food

From all of us at AFK we would like to thank Gordon and all of you for allowing us to Play here in this space.

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