Gazillion Swirl!

Gazillion Swirl! Te mahi toi o Reuben Paterson
Auckland City Art Gallery

September 3 2011 – December 2 2012


The Auckland Art Gallery’s recent restoration and redevelopment project opened up new opportunities for engaging with communities. “How we could use this space to give people of all ages a way into art?   How is art connected with everyday experience of life and how can this be expressed?” asks Roger Taberner, Learning Programme Manager.

Roger’s team worked alongside New Zealand artist Reuben Paterson to create the first interactive exhibition in the newly created Todd Foundation Learning Centre.  The aim was to enable children and adults to not only understand the process of art making from an artist’s perspective but also to make their own art – regardless of their skill level. “Almost everything in the multi-media, self-directed space can be touched – it’s hands-on art – and it takes the pressure off caregivers, teachers and children alike.”


The room provides a sensory experience for young and old: work tables are strewn with materials that allow visitors to create and play with shapes, light, colour or new perspectives, the artist’s presence is captured throughout via video, and specialist staff members are on-hand to provide guidance. “The way children and adults use the space is fascinating: they take photos or film movies, they’re taking ownership of the whole space.


They can make something to take away, or leave it here for someone else to work on.  It really is fulfilling its objective of being an intergenerational space, where people think about and take part in the process rather than just viewing the end-product.  We see them making some of those wider connections about art and what it is,” says Roger.

Visitor feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and Roger says the Learning Centre has become a draw card for families. “One dad brought his daughter in for eight weekends in a row, saying they were still discovering so much about the room that they hadn’t exhausted it yet.”