Friday, 27 May 2011
I've been meaning to blog about this one for ages: Through the Magic Mirror: The World of Anthony Browne is Children's Laureate Anthony Browne's retrospective exhibition at the fabulous Seven Stories in Newcastle.
Although Anthony's work is frequently exhibited both in the UK and abroad, surprisingly he has never had a solo exhibition in the UK on this scale. The exhibition covers the whole of his career as an author and illustrator, and like most of Seven Stories' shows (I blogged about a previous one, There's Nuffin Like a Puffin) it is an interactive experience as much as a straightforward exhibition. Visitors can enter the back yard from Changes, crawl through The Tunnel, dress up in Willy the Wimp's stripey pullover, or play the Shape Game, as well as having the chance to examine incredibly beautiful original artwork from Anthony's books.
I was lucky enough to go along to the opening of exhibition back in April, which was a great day. Seven Stories served up appropriately themed refreshments, from monkey nuts to banana cakes, to their guests, who included children who were involved with the Picture Book Project, an education project Seven Stories developed with Action for Children, based around Anthony's books. Children's work from the Picture Book Project was also on display in the Book Den gallery, along with a fantastic film of Anthony meeting children from the project, as well as a friendly gorilla.
Having spent the last two years working on Anthony's Laureateship, walking round this beautifully put together exhibition was actually an oddly emotional experience for me, especially as it included artefacts such as the original dressing gown belonging to Anthony's father, which has repeatedly reappeared in many of his books. But regardless of whether or not you're familiar with Anthony's work, this is a great fun exhibition for adults and children alike.
Through the Magic Mirror: The World of Anthony Browne is at Seven Stories until 14 March 2012.