Lose yourself in a labyrinthine mirror world at Walala x Play at Now Gallery

What?: Immersive artwork and ‘temple of wonder’ created by print designer and artist Camille Walala. Known for her bold and colourful geometric patterns, the ‘Queen of Colour’ has for her latest work constructed a labyrinthine network of corridors, dead ends and hanging shapes, using this as a canvas on which to mount her iconic abstract forms in their familiar eye-popping palette of primary brights, pinks and greens. This cacophonous yet oddly pleasing collage of spots, stripes and animal prints is made all the more noisy through its intermingling with an irregular arrangement of mirrors, with the result being a kind of hip-East-End-art-show-meets-fairground-fun house situation.

It might look like a toddler wonderland but Play is very much an adult playground with its no-shoes signs, child-supervisory warnings and perplexing grown-up spot-the-difference game, though the maze still has an obvious pull for youngsters. Babies will find sensory nirvana in the monochrome stripes, giant polka dots and foil shapes, while narcissistic toddlers can gaze at their infinite reflections. Older children can have a stab at the game of discrepancies and teens will probably just be happy to find a way to lose you for quarter of an hour.

Where & When?: Walala x Play is on until 24th September at Now Gallery, which is located just outside North Greenwich (Jubilee) station.

Best Bits: The clever spot-the-difference game takes the element of interactivity beyond a simple stroll around contours of the maze and forces visitors to see the work as more than just a glorified 3D collage. On fine days you can also have a go on one of the two Walala-designed ping-pong tables in the Peninsula Garden, with bats and balls available from reception. Since we spent the whole of our visit attempting to take arty photos and chasing after our increasingly agile toddler we unfortunately neglected to hunt out any inconsistencies. The weather was also too crappy for outdoor play but we still had fun, even in the face of a pattern-induced infant meltdown.

Worst Bits: The installation had the same effect on my self esteem as an afternoon spent in the changing rooms at H&M on Oxford Street. The lighting is harsh, the mirrors are myriad and there was absolutely no escaping the various pockets of back fat that have accumulated since I last exercised pre-pregnancy in early 2015. Thankfully (or not, depending on your fondness for 360-degree mirrors) you are only granted 15 minutes to explore, which I felt was enough given that it’s a pretty small installation and the intensity of colour and pattern combined with the abundance of mirrors had Bab completely tripping out. By the end of our visit she was just crawling round sobbing at her own reflection with an expression of abject horror plastered across her little face.

Facilities: Step-free access, baby changing.

Price: Free.


Bab and mummy blend in at Walala x Play at Now Gallery, Greenwich Peninsula.