heads, shoulders, knees and toes – Yorkhill, 21 July – 17 August 2014

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heads, shoulders, knees and toes has been developed as part of the ongoing partnership between the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow (Yorkhill). This partnership is exploring how we can meet the rights of the child in terms of art, culture and play as embedded in article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

heads, shoulders, knees and toes grew out of conversations about the work of artist Sally Hackett and how she might engage young people in the hospital. Sally’s project was a short one in June and she was able to make use of key links and developments within the hospital that have been developed through the ongoing residency with Hans Clausen.

The exhibition will open on Monday 21 July, after the baton relay has been through Yorkhill, and forms part of the work that the hospital is doing to celebrate the Games in Glasgow in 2014. It will remain open in the Choices restaurant on the 1st floor until 17 August 2014.

Stretch, coil, hinge join, ping, bend, squat, spring, rotate, cartwheel and leap are words young people don’t usually associate with the term ceramics

Instead most children’s experience of the medium is a chocolate box static ornament of a woman holding a parasol in a spring meadow placed on their granny’s mantelpiece.

The main aim within this project was reinventing the young people’s perceptions of ceramics and turning it into something fun, both in subject matter and in process. Instead of painstakingly smoothing out a meticulous sculpture for hours on end the project aimed to remove expectations and pressures by encouraging the making process to be disjointed and unassuming.

Children are often resident in Yorkhill for short periods of time and during these their days are composed of lots of comings and goings – teaching, meal time, nurse, doctor and physio visits, tests, operations and family visits. The disjointed nature of the making process therefore suited the setting. Making separate body parts that would be later fired in the kiln allowed the young people to work with a piece of clay for a range of durations – from 10 minutes to an hour and a half. The use of the art trolley travelling around the wards is also reflected in the active nature of the work, creating exuberant and playful results.

The project aims to capture the spirit and activity currently surrounding build up to Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth games. The young people were asked to explore movement by trying to create a ceramic that is in itself moveable – be it a simple hinge in an arm or a complete puppet style invention. Looking at the difference between the way for example a gymnast moves an arm to a wrestler and exploring this in a three dimensional tactile medium. The work is entirely collaborative, some pieces becoming hybrid beings with four different limbs created by different young artists and a head created by another.

Sally Hackett 2014

Tiegan , Kacper, Dylan, Ross, Vaidehi, Georgia H, Lauren, Georgia L, Shania, Chloe, Ayleigh , Justin, Caragh, keera, Graham and Joseph

Thanks to:
Sally Hackett, artist
Sarah Barr, Young Peoples Activities Co-ordinator, RHSC
Coral Brady, Business Administration Manager, RHSC
Katie Bruce, producer curator, Gallery of Modern Art
Bill Breckenridge for the fabulous new art cart
Frank in Joinery for supplying the wood
And all the young people who painted the frames for the exhibition!

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