Helena Barrell reviews CityScape CEN8Kids’ Summer Art Exhibition

Art Exhibition Group Photo

In order to get to the CEN8Kids Art Exhibition, I passed through the vibrant and bustling café Out of the Brew and down a set of stairs to the basement. Unsure of what I would find there, I was delighted to be greeted by a vibrant array of colours and shapes. The exhibition space was full to the brim of artwork hanging on the walls, down from the ceiling and dotted about the centre of the room. The exhibition has been put together by the young artists who go to CEN8’s art classes and shows the imaginative work they have been creating over the past year. On entering, I immediately felt like I’d discovered a fantasy land, unlike anything I’d seen before.

In the centre of the room, a table displayed a fanciful assortment of structures that I was surprised to learn the children had principally assembled with cardboard boxes. These made up a collection of buildings, skilfully decorated in tinsel, stars, brightly coloured paper and an exciting assortment of patterns. Not only were the exteriors of these buildings artistically embellished, but you could peel back their doors and rooves to peek into their interiors too. These gave you glimpses of miniature items of furniture and equally vibrant decorations, expanding the fantasy land even further. An ice cream shop was glamorously decorated with cotton-wool-topped ice cream cones, and orange and yellow stars and hearts. A towering apartment block was adorned in tinsel and featured a gloriously green roof garden with a rather decadent sun bed that I could easily imagine spending hours on. Another structure contained glamorous dressing rooms for YouTube stars, on which a vibrantly patterned table was laden with an actor’s script. Surrounding the many buildings, turquoise umbrellas were placed on the floor and decorated with tulips and feathers. I delighted in seeing everyday items transformed into magical treasures that sparked the imagination.

One of the most memorable pieces was the screen that hung at the back of the room, on which a dragon surveyed a lively landscape of flowers and a rainbow. His fiery roar engulfed the scene in a dizzying orange swirl. A fantastical disc decorated with wirey pipe cleaners and creamy cotton wool hung from the ceiling in front of it and almost seemed to be emerging out from the landscape it accompanied. Elsewhere, whimsical flowers made from tissue paper adorned the walls. A card-board computer screen displayed an intricately designed, fun-looking game, as if the player had abandoned it in the middle of their turn.

These were just some of the many varied objects that surrounded me. They all added up to create the sense that I had stepped into an alternative land. I was really impressed by the creative ingenuity that each work showed and envied the obviously fantastical imaginations of all the artists who had been involved in this wonderful art project. I very much look forward to seeing the array of creations produced for the CEN8Kids art exhibition next year which I’m sure will be equally as inspiring!

To see exactly the art works for yourself, click on our video link:

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