When I first received the invite for Raarr, I was taken back by the opening sentence ‘Never work with children or animals they say’. I have worked with children ranging from 6 months to 6 years old for over 10 years and have been humbled by every encounter. My days of educating were filled with honesty, curiosity and an infinite wealth of potential from each child to say the least. But the exhibition name is quite fitting for lionstigersrahhh and I get extremely excited by the idea of artists collaborating with children and giving them an opportunity to express their own realities. Children or young people possess a vivid creative imagination and they see the world through a very colourful kaleidoscope. It is quite refreshing to say the least to see children’s work being respected and exhibited at The Book Club.
Raarr (pronounced RAAARRGHHH!) - pretty much how (lionstigersRAAARRGHH is pronounced) is an exhibition consisting of collaborative zoological drawings. However, ordinary collaborations they are not. The involved artists are in fact a whole generation apart. In my personal opinion there is no difference in how many generations apart the artist are. What matters here is the dialogue that was created, how they each challenged the others thoughts and ideas about art, imagination and perceiving the world around them.
The best drawing I have ever received from a child was at a Primary School in Hackney. The child handed me a drawing that was filled with love hearts or should I say, everything was made with love hearts. Flowers were in the shape of love hearts, the sun was too and even the hot air balloon. That child explained that it was love heart land and that she would like to take me there because everything was made out of love hearts and everything was fun there.
Contributing illustrators and their chosen creatures:
Mike Bertino: Babbon Jon Boam: Bat James Clapham: Ostrich kristina collantes: Ring Tailed Lemur Jay Cover (Nous Vous): Crocodile Kristian Hammerstad: Pig Jason Kerley: Shark James Ari King: Bear Micah Lidberg: Horse Antonio Ladrillo: Worm Miss Lotion: Wild Boar Robert Maple: Mouse Andy Miller: Fox Marcus Oakley: Orangutan Mike Perry: Caterpillar Kyle Platts: Lizard Kate Prior: Cat Daniel Sparkes: Wolf Katja Spitzer: Okapi Ian Stevenson: Rabbit Magic Sweater: Walrus Zeloot: Bird
Pure innocence with a world of potential and a voice that wants to be heard is exactly the essence of what Raahh represents.
Twenty two illustrators have been specially commissioned to draw a reptile, bird, mammal, amphibian, fish or insect of their choosing... sans-head or face. Upon completion these headless wonders will be passed onto the real talent: twenty-two eager school children who will receive the baton from the illustrators and complete the drawings; adding features, colour, limbs, even names, whilst not forgetting the all important heads.Most of the younger collaborators will be friends and relatives of their “bigger-kid” counterparts. However some of the participating illustrators are from distant corners of the world, so the help of local primary schools has been enlisted to contribute to the project. As half of the work is by children it was thought only fair that all of the profits made from the show will be donated to the , a UK children’s charity based a stones throw from The Book Club.
So shake your legs, stretch them out and take yourself for a little stroll to The Book Club for Raahh the exhibition. The exhibition runs from Thursday 19th ends 26th February and it's free entry!
Screen and risograph printing courtesy of James Ari King, It Drew Itself and Ditto Press. Concept and Curation Jason Kerley, Assisted by Aine Sheehan, James Ari King & Iris Gundacker.
Directed by Liat Chen
Risograph Printing by Ditto Press