Children and Sculpture – a visit to Gibbs Farm

There’s something awesome about the way that children look at art.

They don’t have any pre-conceived ideas about the ways things ‘should’ be, as we often do.

Children just take things as they come, at face value. And they’re not afraid to say what they think about it!

Recently we decided to do something different outdoors, and visit a sculpture park. Gibbs Farm is an hour northwest of Auckland City on the shores of the vast Kaipara Harbour, and is open to the public monthly on a ballot system.

The owner, Alan Gibbs, with the assistance of his son-in-law architect Noel Lane, commissions key artists to create site-specific pieces for the farm. The artists have a completely open brief. Some pieces nestle into the land, harmonising, looking like they’ve always been there. Others clash and contrast. Some are quirky and fun, and still more are serious and reverential. All are on a grand scale. Description is difficult.

This is why it is such a fantastic place to take children – kids don’t require detailed explanations about art. They don’t necessarily expect to understand everything around them, and so when they look at a huge abstract sculpture you can see them sizing it up and soaking it in. They may come up with a story about it. They may make a suggestion about what they think it looks like. They might ask, “Can I touch it?” or exclaim, “I want to get on it!”

Ask the children if they think the piece has an effect on the land around it, or if the land around it affects the piece.

Combine all this stimulation with a rollicking good hike around the farm trail, the bluster of the prevailing westerly, and of course, a yummy picnic…and you just might have a perfect family day out.

Oh, and did I mention they have GIRAFFES you can feed?!

If you’d like to visit Gibbs Farm, you’ll need to apply in advance as it is only open on specific days by prior arrangement. You can do that HERE. If upcoming dates are fully booked, keep checking back on the website as new dates are released regularly.

Other good places to view sculptures near Auckland are the Brick Bay sculpture trail and Sculptureum, both near Matakana.

If you are nowhere near Auckland, see if you can Google publicly situated sculptures in your area. Take your kids along with an open mind!

 

 

 

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