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Puppet fun

June 18th, 2018

A small shadow puppet theatre with a butterfly and frog shadow puppet.

The Shadow Puppet Theatre at the Hands-On Centre. Image by the AGO.

Got a little one who loves art and animals? We’ve got something special just for them!

This summer, the AGO’s Dr. Mariano Elia Hands-On Centre is the place to be where children of all ages can create their own animal silhouette puppets and decorate them with colour and tissue paper, and bring them to life behind a shadow puppet theatre.

Open year-round, the Hands-On Centre is the AGO’s hub for children’s artmaking, costume play and creative family learning. This summer’s activity, with its emphasis on animals and storytelling, is inspired by two current AGO exhibitions, Tunirrusiangit: Kenojuak Ashevak and Tim Pitsiulak and Connecting With Our First Family.

A young girl holds an owl shadow puppet behind a puppet theatre.

Image by the AGO.

Connecting with Our First Family, located in the Community Gallery just outside the Hands-On Centre, is the work of Anishinaabe artist Nyle Miigizi Johnston and includes 23 large-scale drawings of animals like frogs, deer, beavers and moose. (Read more about that exhibition’s high-tech connection here.) Tunirrusiangit, located in the Sam & Ayala Zacks Pavilion, features the work of two incredible Inuit artists, Kenojuak Ashevak and Tim Pitsiulak, whose work often features animals like owls, birds, polar bears, and fish. Each animal in the shadow puppet theatre was inspired by these exhibitions.

A young girl watches a polar bear move across a shadow puppet theatre.

Image by the AGO.

A window display bears the title "Woodland Shadow Puppets" above a laundry line of animals puppets.

Image by the AGO.

A young boy holds a bird shadow puppet as he walks in front of a laundry line of black paper puppets.

Image by the AGO.

After bringing puppets to life in our puppet theatre, children can take their puppets home or leave them in the Hands-On Centre’s animal-filled window display. Younger children will enjoy the play table with fun toy animals and play camping equipment. Later this summer, Miigizi Johnston will visit the Centre for storytelling sessions – stay tuned for details!

The AGO’s shadow puppet theatre is open all summer long.

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