Challenges faced by children explored in new exhibition

PUBLISHED: 19:00 05 January 2016

Lance Carries Miles, Graphite on Paper 2015 by C A Halpin

Lance Carries Miles, Graphite on Paper 2015 by C A Halpin


A powerful new show captures the burdens borne by children at the V&A Museum of Childhood.

Girl Carrying Water, Graphite on Paper 2013 by C A HalpinGirl Carrying Water, Graphite on Paper 2013 by C A Halpin

The plight of vulnerable children forced to exist in a difficult, hostile adult world will be revealed in a new exhibition of large-scale black and white graphite drawings.

It’s A Hard World For Little Things is a social commentary on the burdens and responsibilities faced both by local children, and ones across the globe, who hold little or no power.

Their individual struggles are depicted in striking images of children carrying physical, societal and political loads such as water, a blackboard – or even each other.

It’s an abiding reality of the world we live in but not necessarily a negative one, according to the show’s curator and artist C A Halpin.

Y = YELLOW, Graphite on Paper 2015 by C A HalpinY = YELLOW, Graphite on Paper 2015 by C A Halpin

She said: “Children are man at his strongest. It is about what they endure and abide and how strong they are. Children will carry anything they have to in order to survive.”

One of the images shows two east London brothers aged 10 and seven. The elder, Lance, carries his brother, Miles, who suffers from cerebral palsy and is unable to walk. It expresses the care, strength and delicacy shown by one sibling to another.

The show is inspired by 1955 thriller The Night of the Hunter, a story of good versus evil seen through the eyes of two orphaned children – with the exhibition’s title taken from a quote from the film.

Ms Halpin says they are running away but are carrying a secret.

“Everything about this film is about love and hate,” she said.

This exhibition follows on the back of an earlier series of critically-acclaimed images shown at the Angus-Hughes Gallery.

This new show will include a specially-commissioned dance piece featuring a two-minute adaptation of The Night of The Hunter.

C A Halpin is an artist, animator and former alumni of the Royal College of Art.

The Hackney resident explores movement and her work is created through constant motion.

“Drawing itself is like an animation,” she explains.

It’s a Hard World for Little Things will run from Saturday January 9 to Sunday, July 17, at the V&A Museum of Childhood, open 10am to 5.45pm on a daily basis. Admission is free.

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