Let’s Play? An exhibition for children. Depiction of toys in artworks

  • 2020-09-07
  • TBT Staff

An exhibition for children Let’s Play? dedicated to the depiction of toys in artworks will take place in the 4th Floor Exhibition Halls of the main building of the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga (Jaņa Rozentāla laukums 1) from 5 September to 1 November 2020.

This is the second art project by the Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA) dedicated specifically for children’s audience, a continuation to the initiative launched in 2018 with the exhibition Let’s Be Friends? This time, the project’s authors focus on the theme of playing and its reflection in Latvian professional art. The exhibition invites to a conversation about the essence of playing and its evolution in the digital age, as well as encourages us to reflect on friendship, care and responsibility. It is a compelling and versatile project, accompanied by educational activities aimed at reducing social, intellectual and physical barriers during a visit to the museum.

The 21st century pedagogy and psychology theories emphasize the vital role of playing in child’s development by familiarizing with the environment, as well as building relationships with family and society. Playing is a creative activity that resonates with the stories of creation of exhibits on view and develops basic life skills: confidence, communication and critical thinking. The exhibition title and theme purposefully invite our young visitors to a friendly encounter with the world visually and emotionally close to them – the dolls and teddy bears depicted in artworks, creative tasks and the most significant events in the history of toys.

The exhibition also shows the fragile line nowadays between playing in the physical and digital environment – the challenge faced by many families, since 21st century childhood takes place in the context of new technologies, different values and lifestyles. Nevertheless, the overall tone of the exposition upholds that a cuddly toy is a constant fundament of a happy childhood as it can be seen in portraits of children and their playmates. The world of girls and their dolls, revealed in expressive, sometimes amusing, multifaceted and contemporary depictions, especially stands out.

Works for the exhibition have been selected from the LNMA’s collection, Zuzāns Collection and other private collections, covering the period from the beginning of the 20th century to the beginning of the 21st century. The exposition features the artworks of outstanding Latvian masters – Jāzeps Grosvalds, Oto Skulme, Niklāvs Strunke, Aleksandra Beļcova, Līvija Endzelīna, Leo Kokle, Aleksandra Briede, as well as contemporary artists – Edvards Grūbe, Juris Dimiters, Ieva Jurjāne, Frančeska Kirke, Sarmīte Māliņa & Kristaps Kalns, Elīna Brasliņa.

Museum’s education team considers it a particularly important necessity to introduce young visitors with the various processes that take place in the museum. The project will help children to understand how the exhibits are selected, how to look at art and how the collection objects are preserved and restored. Considering the interests, perceptual abilities and habits of the target audience, the artworks are displayed at lower height and textual information is adapted for children – the same arrangement as in the first exhibition. In addition, there are separate rooms available for creative activities and interactive entertainment. The exhibition programme includes exclusive creative workshops, stimulating meetings, conversations and events for families with children and young parents.

The exhibition is intended for children under the age of nine years, encouraging to learn, imagine, sympathise, fantasize, and engage in dialogue through playing. We also invite group visits from kindergartens and primary schools. To book a group visit, please send an email to ekskursijas@lnmm.lv .