March 17 – July 8, 2017
Brigham Young University Museum of Art
North Campus Drive
Provo, Utah 84602
James Mollison’s exhibition, Playground, influenced by his own experiences being bullied in the schoolyard, gives us an international look at children at play. These photographs are from rich and poor schools with vastly different resource levels in countries including Bhutan, Bolivia, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Nepal, Norway, Sierra Leone, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. The photographs are accompanied by extended captions that tell of the conditions specific to each school. Where some children are in classrooms so crowded that they need to climb over desks to move, others play in palace gardens. The comparison invites us to think about the lives of our world’s children and the obstacles and privileges that influence their growth and ability to succeed. It also reminds us of our similarities as children play in similar ways throughout the world. While serious issues are raised, a fun and interactive element in the exhibition is a Where’s Waldo?-like game where the viewer searches the frame for a particular student illustrated on the image caption. There’s also an immersive (optional) sound component with field recordings of children at play. Playground is a wonderful platform for educational programming, prompting viewers of all ages to discus global diversity, inequality, and bullying.