This February, the Mead Gallery brings us Creative Fortnight – two weeks packed with fun artistic activities exploring and engaging with one of its current exhibitions, Close and Far: Russian Photography. Created to promote a more dynamic engagement between the public and the artworks, the Creative Fortnight caters for children, adults and students alike.
An extension to the exhibition, activities focus around colour theory and the works of its pioneer Prokudin-Gorsky. The Mead Gallery fuses an educational agenda with innovative activities to encourage a younger audience to get more involved with art, and subsequently understand the properties of primary colours and their mixes. One of their brilliant ideas comes in the form of “Cheburashka”; famous in Russia, “Cheburashka” remains an unknown species found in a crate of fruit. Created by the Mead Gallery’s Emma O’Brien, this cartoon, unlike the “more obvious Russian imagery like the Kremlin,” is a wacky and unique way to really employ public participation with artworks as kids and even adults can colour “Chebrushka” in, with colour wheels and sharpies galore.
There’s really something for everyone – the light box offering endless hours of fun (or procrastination) allowing you to overlay coloured sheets and beads reminiscent of Prokudin-Gorsky’s kaleidoscopic images.
For people with more time on their hands, the creative challenges prompt a closer look into the detail of the exhibition’s photography. The Mead Gallery tackles the all too common glazed eye and spurs us on to engage with the pieces, translating them to our own daily lives. Using Alexander Gronsky’s works as inspiration, derelict outskirts of Moscow transform into our own visions of Coventry and Leamington Spa.
Despite all of these wonderful initiatives, perhaps the most enjoyable and accessible is the brilliant use of a paper and pin: turn your IPhone into a pin-hole camera! Whether taking photos of works in the gallery or on the sculpture trail around the campus (obviously including our iconic Koan), new perspectives are drawn out. A seemingly normal surface simultaneously magnified and blurred, there’s always a surprise with the resulting photo. And as a bonus – you could find your work on the Mead Gallery’s very own Instagram page!
Finally, if that’s still not enough to get your creative juices flowing, Kate Bush’s talk on 5 March should not be missed, offering a great opportunity to learn more about the curation and context of the exhibition. All in all, this fortnight at the Mead Gallery is certainly creative to say the least.