What?: This is one of the few appealing activities I’ve managed to find through the Hoop app, which generally assumes we are unwilling to venture outside of our postcode and only offers up sessions with names like “Latino Bambino” or “Amanda’s Action Club” (apologies if you are a fan of either of these). As it happens the Zabludowicz Collection is a 20-minute walk from our flat and I’ve been looking for an excuse to visit with The Awkward One since we had her, so this free, family-friendly Saturday crafternoon seemed to be our calling.
We arrived half an hour or so after the start time (the website says to drop in any time after 2pm), only to be told that Bab might be a bit young for that day’s activity, which involved drawing and sticking. The artist educator on duty (they vary from week to week) was nonetheless pretty good about making us feel involved and setting Bab up with something to do, but it does annoy me when these things advertise themselves as being suitable for all ages when what they actually mean is suitable for all ages over two.
Our workshop took place in the little library just off the main foyer as that’s where the photocopier, which we were using to make 2D images of the three-dimensional artworks we were creating, was located, though apparently most sessions are held in the much larger cafe/foyer area, where presumably smaller ones who aren’t big fans of sitting on chairs can spread out onto the floor.
Unlike with some of the gallery-based art sessions we’ve been to, a guided tour of the current exhibition wasn’t included (presumably due to the drop-in nature of the class), though we were free to peruse it at our own leisure. The exhibition in question was Zabludowicz Collection’s annual commission with British artist Haroon Mirza and his studio, hrm199. Entitled For a Partnership Society, the exhibition consists of four works that offer physical experiences at the intersection of art, architecture, sculpture, sound and music, and respond in some way to the building, artworks and context of the Collection.
In layman’s terms everything was very loud, dark and flashy with a strong dystopian future vibe. Bab was terrified of everything, and to be honest even I found it all a bit scary. I think the artwork she made in response to the exhibition – namely a photocopy of some felt-tip pens she vehemently emptied out onto the table afterwards – speaks volumes about her subsequent mindset. Not the most baby-friendly thing in the world but then modern art rarely is, and I admire this gallery’s attempt to make it more accessible to the very young.
Where and When?: Sessions run from 2-5pm on Saturdays during exhibitions. The Zabludowicz Collection is located at 176 Prince of Wales Road and is a five-minute walk from Chalk Farm (Northern), six from Kentish Town West (Ginger) and 15 from Kentish Town (Northern, Thameslink).
Best Bits: Great little gallery with nice cafe.
Worst Bits: I did think it could have been a bit more young-toddler friendly, particularly since half the kids there were Bab’s age.
Facilities: Baby changing, cafe.
Would We Come Back?: We would definitely try one more time, but if it was another felt tips and sticking activity we probably wouldn’t bother again.
Bab plays with photocopies at Families Create, the Zabludowicz Collection.