The first stage of APT9 Kids launches this weekend with the unveiling of Purple Reign 2018, an immersive ‘secret garden’ populated with images of jacarandas and interactive experiences by Australian artist Gary Carsley.

Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) Director Chris Saines said Purple Reignat GOMA was the first in a series of eight artist-led projects to be presented as part of APT9 Kids.

‘APT9 Kids is an integral part of the visitor experience of our flagship exhibition ‘The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art opening from 24 November 2018 and continuing until 28 April 2019,’ Mr Saines said.

‘It encourages our youngest visitors and their families to creatively engage with artists’ ideas through projects presented in the Children’s Art Centre and other locations across both Gallery sites.’

‘On display within Purple Reign is the inspiration for the project, the iconic painting from the Gallery’s Collection, Under the jacaranda 1903 by Queensland artist R Godfrey Rivers,’ Mr Saines said.

‘In the painting, a couple enjoy afternoon tea while seated in Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens under a mature jacaranda tree in full, violet-coloured bloom.

‘As hinted by its title, Purple Reign encourages us to reflect on the jacaranda’s presence and influence, which has spread far and wide since it was first introduced to Australia in 1864.

‘Originally from South America, this once exotic species is now a much-beloved feature of our landscape, with its lilac blooms annually carpeting Australia’s eastern coastline.

‘The opening of Purple Reign coincides with the jacarandas coming into bloom in Brisbane in October,’ Mr Saines said.

Tamsin Cull, Head of Public Engagement, QAGOMA, said Purple Reign was a ‘secret garden’ brimming with images of the iconic jacaranda.

‘The photographs of jacaranda trees in the installation have been taken by the artist in Australia and as far afield as Chile, Vietnam, India and South Africa,’ Ms Cull said.

‘These images are printed on A4 copy paper in different shades of purple, which are then installed floor-to-ceiling one at a time by hand. The audience is immersed in a composite landscape of trees from throughout the colonised world.’

Inside the space, a touchscreen activity invites children to learn about six animal species that have become extinct due to changes in their habitats. Visitors are also encouraged to re-enact the scene from Under the jacaranda in a stage-like tableau positioned opposite the painting — a perfect location for an individual or family selfie.

‘By taking their own picture and posting it online, our visitors will contribute to a new kind of propagation of the jacaranda, while also acknowledging and reshaping its history,’ Ms Cull said.

APT9 Kids engages contemporary artists from Iraq (Sadik Kwaish Alfraji), the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (Pauline Kimei Anis), the Philippines (Nona Garcia), Thailand (Jakkai Siributr), Taipei (Joyce Ho), New Zealand (Jeff Smith) and Australia (Vincent Namatjira and Gary Carsley) on the development of special interactive projects for children and families.

For more information on APT9 Kids and APT9 Kids on Tour please visit qagoma.qld.gov.au/apt9.

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