Kids Art Camp in Gillman Barracks

By Fiona Silva

Jul 12th, 2017 5:40 PM

Kids Art Camp – Night Out at the Gallery (April –June 2017)

by Fiona Silva


The Arnoldii Arts Club launched its first ever series of children’s art camps in April this year. Targeted at children between the ages of 8 -12 years, the overnight art camp introduced the kids to Gillman Barracks as a historical space with its military origins, that has transformed over almost a century into a charming and dynamic visual arts cluster. The kids then discovered the various public artworks on the “Locke Route” through engaging question and through stories.

We considered how we remember certain places, what made a place unforgettable and in what ways we can share stories of these places through various visual media. Entering then the “Story of Space” exhibition at Yeo Workshop, we took a look at how Indonesian artist, Maryanto, tells his stories through his artwork using a diverse range of artistic media, such as oil painting, acrylic, ink, charcoal and sculpture. Maryanto draws us into the visual narratives he has created about the social and environmental issues that affect his home country, as well as places far away.

It’s amazing what insights the kids draw from the stark dystopian landscapes that the artist offers in the main gallery. The idea of working towards a sustainable future and protecting our environment and resources is something that these kids are familiar with and have discussed in their respective local and international schools intensely. They are keenly aware that it is their future that is at stake and understand the necessity to change consumer behavior in order to mitigate the strain on resources globally. Through this exhibition we also talked about the social effects on traditional communities and ways of life.

But Maryanto also offers in this exhibition, visual narratives of hope and rejuvenation, of regrowth and resilience – all of which comfort him in the fact that there is a way forward for a better future. The children took the artist’s invitation to share their own ideas of a perfect world very seriously. In the Notebooks that form the interactive arena for this exhibition, the children wrote or drew their own visions of utopia. They were extremely excited to know that the artist received regular photo feeds from the gallery staff, updating him on the contents of the notebooks and that he had liked a few of their entries on Instagram!

Interacting with the artist, even if virtually was really exciting for them, especially since they were so in awe of the man who had single-handedly in one week, completed such a powerful wall mural that has left such a lasting impression on them. They were equally impressed with the artist’s scratched canvases – the idea that he painted everything black first and then scratched out the areas that reveal light was like thinking backwards for then. This however was a good starting point to introduce the relief printing method that we would do in our hands-on art workshop the following day.

After dinner and sharing several (several) rounds of jokes and riddles and ghost stories, the kids camped out in the gallery space and dreamed of places far and near.

The early risers got to do a pre-dawn stroll through the precinct and enjoyed listening nature’s creatures awake with their own unique sounds as the sky slowly brightened. Before breakfast we had a short, uplifting yoga session and then we began the art workshop. On soft linoleum blocks, the kids carved out their designs, which were often but not limited to, places or ideas that represented “utopia” to them. Their ideas were limitless and several of them who had tried relief printing at school before, were more adventurous with their designs. Even the most boisterous and impatient kids were so focused on maneuvering their cutting instruments that they sat concentrated for a remarkable amount of time, taking great pride in carving out their blocks.

The next part was inking and printing and we tried various combinations of coloured ink on coloured paper. It was lovely to see how proud they were when peeling of the paper to reveal their prints! And how proud they were that their works of art were then hung up at the gallery, right next to Maryanto’s works!

When their parents arrived to pick them up, they had one more task – the participants had to guide their parents through the public artworks on the Locke Route, and they were also encouraged to present the “Story of Space” exhibition to their families who hadn’t already seen it. The feedback we received from the parents was amazing! They were really impressed about how much their kids retained from all the information they received, and how enthusiastic they were about talking about the artwork and how they made their prints.

Gillman Barracks indeed has a lot to offer in terms of art, nature and adventure! I would like to thank all the parents, parent-volunteers, Audrey Yeo and her gallery staff for all their support in making this first round of art camps such a success! Do look out for more workshops and camps in the last quarter of 2017 … but for now, that’s a wrap!


Upcoming Programmes

In line with the latest group exhibition, Apertures, at Yeo Workshop, Jelly Bean Attic will be hosting a children art session to explore the works of Merryn Trevethan. The programe includes an introduction to the artist and her current works at the gallery. This will be followed by a craft activity that is inspired by the artist's use of depth and a tour of other artists' exhibits at Yeo Workshop as well as galleries nearby.

Merryn Trevethan is an Australian artist based in Singapore. She has exhibited widely in Australia and internationally. In 2015, Trevethan was commissioned to create large-scale mural artworks for the new Facebook Headquarters in Singapore and in 2016, completed an expansion of the project. She recently held her first solo exhibition in Singapore at the Australian High Commission in 2016.

The workshop will use a thematic lens through which children can engage in art-making. By facilitating rather than instructing, the workshop allows the little ones room to explore various materials and mediums to create.The workshop will focus on process art. It’s all about the creation process rather than the outcome.

19th August 2017,  Saturday, 10am -11.30am
2nd September 2017,  Saturday, 10am -11.30am

Suitable for ages 4-7 years old
$40 per child, drop off session
Each workshop is limited to 8 participants and will commence with a minimum of 3 children.

All materials provided and you get to take home your little one's creation!
Aprons will be provided. Do also bring a change of clothes, water bottle and a little snack for your child.

Play and art is an incredible experience for children, giving them room to be themselves and letting them explore the world around them through different colours and textures.


For more information on our upcoming August-September Kids Arts Camps, please contact our lovely organiser Fiona Sliva at