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On the last day of You Are Here, the festival united children and children at heart with the classic art project, Exquisite Corpse. Set amongst other arts and crafts in The Club, Exquisite Corpse was run by Mary Popo.

Exquisite Corpse is the name given to a collectively assembled image, commonly a person. Traditionally, one person would begin the image, for example, the head, fold the piece of paper over and pass it on to the next person. This person would then draw the next part of the image, fold the paper again and pass it on. At the end, the paper is unfolded and the image revealed, usually with a few chuckles at the ridiculous result.

Popo was inspired to run this workshop by a dinner party she attended. At this party, her and her friends reminisced about doing Exquisite Corpse when they were in primary school. Getting paper and pens out, they then spent the rest of the evening creating weird and fantastic creatures. Popo thought it would be an excellent addition to the You Are Here festival.

On Sunday, the audience was comprised mainly of families and children. While none of the events at the You Are Here festival are designed specifically for children most of them are child-friendly, as this workshop was!

The workshop was initially limited by audience participation. There were small numbers and a few of the participants were disinterested in collaborative drawing. For example, I asked one child if he would like to work on a drawing with me but he responded with an affirmative ‘no’; he preferred to work on his own landscape. I admired his honesty.

Once we gained momentum and more adults and children got involved, the creative juices began to flow. The workshop saw an interesting dynamic of adults and children working together to create weird and wonderful bodies. The result was an array of rainbow hair, pineapple-shaped torsos, tentacles as feet and detailed socks. Oh, and someone smuggled glitter into the mix.

While the workshop was intended to be a renaissance for primary school art classes and for a mature audience, Popo’s workshop was quirky and filled with childish sass. The corpses that were created were colourful and sweet. I would recommend an afternoon of Exquisite Corpse to anyone who says they can’t draw because, as I learnt, an artist’s worst critic is not himself or herself, it’s the six-year-old sitting next to them.

Express Media’s Buzzcuts program is presented in Canberra in partnership with Scissors Paper Pen and You Are Here. Visit buzzcuts.org.au for more.

Image: Sarah Walker


Snapshot

Rose Maurice has a happy life surrounded by words. Rose graduated from the ANU with a degree in Literature and History and has worked in a bookshop and now works at the National Library of Australia. An amateur in performance poetry and short stories, Rose has a tendency to write poems on the back of receipts and in the covers of novels she is reading. She is happy to be writing reviews again for the You Are Here festival.

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