Galleries and Toddlers: Anish Kapoor at the MCA

For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed visiting galleries. I love the idea of being that artsy-looking person who goes to galleries with my leather satchel, visual diary and drawing materials, spending hours capturing my intrigue and impressions of the myriad creative ideas contained within one space…

But actually, I am the mummy with porridge on her shirt, a pram, a busy toddler, a nappy bag with Vegemite sandwiches, sultanas and water hidden inside, trying to keep my little person remotely contained to avoid any huge insurance claims against our name!

All the same, I think galleries are awesome places for little people to explore creativity and be exposed to interesting colours, shapes and concepts. When she was still contained and immobile, I took Belle to the Picasso exhibition for my birthday – her very first art exhibition. What a treat! A few months later we attempted the Sydney Biennale and again it was relatively easy, and she seemed to enjoy it too.

I recently took my Belle to the Anish Kapoor exhibition at the MCA, Sydney. His work is so intriguing  – deceptive mirrors throwing back millions of one image; deep blue and red pigment-toned voids and concave forms; polished mirrors distorting the world to appear upside down…

Needless to say Belle was intrigued! So much so that she wanted to go right up to the works and touch them and say hallo to the million versions of herself smiling back at her – which resulted in a rather loud display of her vocal capacity, as I held her back. But other than the glances one would expect from the patrons in a supermarket when one’s toddler chucks a tanty, the gallery patrons just smiled and somehow understood that this little mind wanted to, just like them, get up close and enter the wonderful world of Anish.

An added bonus afterwards was the free Art Play session at the aptly named Bella Room, which contained Emily Floyd’s interactive artwork The Garden, consisting of sculptural objects, wooden blocks and other creative objects, specifically developed as a sensory experience for toddler to explore. Belle loved it! We finished the day off with a coffee at The Rocks, enjoying the sunshine and blue waters of Sydney Harbour. All in all, a very worthwhile experience – and one that reassured me that visiting exhibitions are not completely out of my reach now that I have a toddler.


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