Gallery Guide Naomi Reschke describes touring for education

When Guides introduced children visiting the Gallery to some of the objects in artist Honor Freeman’s exhibition, Ghost Objects, the children were confronted by a whole new tactile and sensory experience and were fascinated by the process of transforming a soft fabric, such as a handkerchief, into the delicate, yet firm, representation of the same object.

During the visit, one of the Guides distributed handkerchiefs that had once belonged to her mother to the children, explaining how precious they were to her because they reminded her of her mother. The children made the connection to the ceramic handkerchiefs on display, even noticing that some had a pearl lustre, just like tears – symbolising the sadness experienced when we miss people who are no longer with us.

The children were able to hold one of the ceramic handkerchiefs – and marvelled at how light it was, with many wondering how the artist had created such a realistic object, an object quite firm to the touch but still delicate-looking and with a real hanky’s folds, wrinkles and embroidery.

The Guide also gave the children small slivers of soap to hold and smell and explained that the artist had been given a cake of soap that had once been used by her father. One of the children had already seen the ceramic soaps on display and commented on the gold lacquer that filled the cracks in these soaps. Again, the children were given the opportunity to hold one of Honor’s soaps and loved the sensation of its solid weight and its cold smoothness, punctuated by cracks and gold layers. ‘Something to hold onto and remember forever’, said a six-year-old.

Naomi is a Gallery Guide at AGSA. This article first appeared in AGSA Magazine Issue 37, 2019.