Thursday 1 March 2018

A Sensory Friendly Event at the Gallery of Modern Art.

When living in Perth, I read a number of articles on various news sites about the Gallery of Modern Art, aka GOMA, in Brisbane.

After arriving in Queensland I happened to come across an advertisement for a sensory friendly event that was being held at GOMA and immediately thought that O would love to go.

O is very creative and loves thinking outside the box. The artist, Yayoi Kusama, that would be featured at the event just happened to also think outside of the box with her art.

We'd visited GOMA a few days prior to the event but had to cut our visit short as both O and L became overwhelmed by all that was occurring around them.

So on Saturday the 13th of January 2018, a Mummy Daughter date was made!

I cannot thank the staff at GOMA enough. The event was well planned and very well thought out. The lights were kept low throughout the building and there were well placed areas for the visitors to sit, relax and re-group. The visitors who attended the event .... there was lots of rocking, bouncing and flapping! They were all so relaxed which was wonderful to see.

O had a ball. When we first arrived there weren't too many other visitors so she had the place to herself.

Our first point of call was a room titled "Soul under the Moon" and it was spectacular.

I am
so proud of O for wanting to venture into this room at GOMA.

"Soul under the Moon" is a small dark room with mirrored walls and ceiling. The room is filled with hundreds of neon ping pong balls hanging from the ceiling. All of this creates the illusion of infinite reflection. It was sensory overload for me but O wanted to go in. We only lasted about 15 seconds but she did it! A huge step for the sensory avoider that she can be!

We visited "The obliteration room" which is now a room covered in colourful sticky dots. Initially this interactive space and all of it's contents - chairs, piano, table, lounge, lamps and other assorted furniture - were all painted white. Over time, the space has been turned into a rainbow of coloured stickers by visitors to GOMA. As you enter the space, you are given a sheet of coloured dots to place where you want within the space. The only rules - don't put the dots on the ceiling or on yourself!

The galleries that were titled "Life is the Heart of a Rainbow" were fascinating. It was a series of galleries with paintings, sculptures and other artworks. Two of the artworks featured over sized cubes that you could peer into through a circular hole. The space inside the cubes were covered with mirrors that reflect the viewer immersed in Kusama's dots in varying colours. A very definite sensory overload for some but not for O - I had to keep reminding her that there were other children who wanted to look into the cubes!

Then it was onto the children's interactive area of GOMA, an exhibition titled "Me, Myselfie and I."

First up was an interactive photo activity by Wit Pimkanchanapong titled "I, you, we." Working with another person or in O's case, she wanted to work alone, you have your photo taken and then your facial features are broken up and recombined to create a composite portrait. O had a ball creating abstract self portraits over and over again.

Then O found "My Pocket Orchestra" and was mesmerized. This area was commissioned by GOMO to be featured in the "Me, Myselfie and I" section. Milos Tomic created this sound interactive exhibit where visitors have the opportunity to experiment with sound to express their mood and personality. It was basically a series of mini sound mixing studios complete with headphones.

O sat at this interactive exhibit at GOMA for about 20 minutes! Luckily there were a number of other stations for the other visitors. She loved mixing her own music and creating her own sounds to add to the tracks. She would leave this area to go look at other activities within the space but would constantly come back to the station.

After about an hour of being at GOMA, O decided that she'd had enough and wanted to visit the space exhibition as well as the stick insects and snake at the nearby Queensland Museum. So off we went.

First up was the space exhibition. O has a huge love of anything to do with space but in particular the moon Titan. This exhibition was a series of photos of the sun, the moons and planets within our solar system. O was in her element when she found the photographs of Titan.

Our final stop was the Discovery Centre to check on the stick insects and the green tree snake who was beautifully posed for a photo!

Sensory friendly events are wonderful and great for anyone with sensory difficulties. I would highly recommend checking out sensory friendly events in your area.

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