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Bermuda National Gallery - Hamilton, Bermuda

Bermuda National Gallery

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    City Hall & Arts Centre
    17 Church Street
    Hamilton, Bermuda


Posted on July 11, 2016

Children’s art museum idea floated

Royal Gazette Newspaper

Sarah Lagan

Published Jul 7, 2016

The Bermuda National Gallery’s recent acquisition of the late Peter Woolcock’s New Bestiary For Children Series could be the catalyst for a child-centred art museum in Bermuda.

BNG’s director Lisa Howie said she would love to see the collection spur a community interest in launching a children’s space devoted to nurturing creativity in young people.

Several donors came forward to buy all 29 of the animal characters dreamt up by the world famous cartoonist including the Flomp which has 15 toes that are constantly getting tangled and the Ascotruff birds that wear their nests on their heads.

All of the creatures are featured in Mr Woolcock’s 2015 book Woolcock’s Wonders and featured as part of a retrospective exhibition held at BNG. The purchase of the collection meant that all 29 pieces could remain as one collection rather than being split up.

Ms Howie said: “I was being kept awake at night thinking that if these pieces were not kept together then we have really not done the right thing. Then, after the acquisition, I thought why couldn’t these works be the foundation for a children’s art museum in Bermuda? What will be the trigger for that dream to get jettisoned out into the community to find out who would love to be behind that kind of project?

“The children’s museums in Boston and New York have art work, education components, play, eating, rest — it is a really vibrant space for toddlers to teens to interact.

“I feel that while these characters are two dimensional right now they have a complete pulse — there is a vitality to them where I feel like they could walk off the page and be in a film. I feel like they could be three dimensionalised whether it be through puppetry or turned into a mascot.

“This is very much a child-centred collection that the artist wanted to see enjoyed and celebrated by children for ever.”

Mr Woolcock’s daughter Diana Andrew said she was delighted that her father’s collection was taking on a new life. She said: “Dad had a passion about bringing out creativity in children and it grieved him that children sat in front of the television or played video games all day — he felt they were being robbed of their own creativity manifesting. Lisa and the Bermuda National Gallery’s vision and what they did during the exhibition by having this Early Years Programme it encouraged the children to create their own characters. Dad would have loved that.

“It is a wonderful legacy from dad and I think he would be thrilled that it has been taken to the next level. The Woolcock family is delighted and excited.”

Ms Howie added: “The growth potential is completely hinged on the community’s involvement and interest. There is an opportunity here to say, ‘why not get behind a space for children to have an intense site for creativity around specific artwork for them?’ If there is a corporate reader who wants to get their brand behind it, it is a great opportunity to take the creatures out into the wild per se we could actually do some fun large scale pieces in the community.”

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