Express Yourself: Romance Was Born for Kids at NGV

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

With high fashion couture still fresh in the memory having seen The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier
exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) a day prior, The Cultured Baby (as he is affectionately named) and I took another trip to Melbourne's public art museum, this time for the opening of a second magnificent exhibition; Express Yourself: Romance Was Born for Kids.

 :: Image c/o Romance was Born on Facebook ::
Commissioned by Sydney-based fashion designers Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales, the talented duo behind Romance Was Born were invited create an exhibition specifically for children to enjoy.

Synonymous for their flamboyant designs, often psychedelic in nature, Plunkett and Sales have delightfully lived up to their reputation. Express Yourself: Romance Was Born for Kids is a mind blowing exhibition, awash with dazzling colour, sparkle and neon, Australiana related art, magical creativity and interactive fun.

The first room on the right, Rainbowland, presents a gallery space divided into colour segments, with each division containing a collection of memorable items using NGV artworks as well as vintage pieces you may remember from your own childhood such as Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, My Little Pony, Ninja Turtles alongside Milo tins and Vegemite jars. Plunkett and Sales used items from their own childhood collection and shopped on eBay for vintage pieces (fun!) to add to the installation.

 :: Rainbowland at Express Yourself ::

The exhibition centre, named Bush Magic, features a neon coloured Billabong projected onto the floor with little fish and frogs for tiny hands and feet to chase.

 :: Bush Magic - a big hit for The Cultured Baby ::

Plunkett and Sales invited various artists to collaborate with Express Yourself, and Del Kathryn Barton happened to be one such artist that prepared quite possibly the prized piece of the exhibition. Taking influence from the Australian bush, Del Kathryn Barton's stunning 2m kangaroo and joey painting named 'We will ride 2014' is positioned in the middle wall of the gallery space

:: 'We will ride 2014' by Del Kathryn Barton ::

The Make and Do room invites children to embellish their own Romance Was Born designed beard or necklace, using self adhesive gems, pom poms and googly eyes. I have to say, the adults were all over this just as much as the kids!

:: Beards and Necklaces ::

:: Romance was Born Embellished Necklace Selfie ::

Lastly, the Tomb Room sees a Mummy wearing sunnies and wrapped in neon bandages, surrounded by pieces from her own fictional wardrobe - real designs from Romance Was Born's newest and past collections.

:: The 'Tomb Room' Mummy ::

:: Romance was Born designed gown with vintage button embellishments ::

Express Yourself: Romance Was Born for Kids at NGV is as fun for the grown-ups as it is for the kids; satisfying the fashion savvy, art lover and Peter Pan in all of us.

Running until 22 March 2015, open 10am-5pm, 7 days a week. The Express Yourself: Romance Was Born for Kids at NGV exhibition is FREE to enter.  Even if you don't have children, you really need to go and see this exhibition.  Really. You must.


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