Top critics from across the UK flocked to the Granite City for British Art Show 9 but now one of the most important has had her say – Kitty, the 11-year-old mini reviewer for Look Again.
Aberdeen schoolgirl Kitty Donovan is a seasoned hand at critiquing visual arts – and she gave her seal of approval to BAS9, a collection of the best contemporary artists working in the UK today.
“It’s a beautiful experience. There will be some things that you don’t quite understand and there will be some things you love,” said Kitty. “I enjoyed it very much. I felt relaxed, calm, annoyed, angry, just lots of different emotions.”
Kitty has a faithful following for her reviews online with Look Again, the creative team which is part of Gray’s School Of Art at Robert Gordon University. It runs the hugely popular arts festival of the same name as well as year-round events and exhibitions.
Taken aback by Kitty’s passion
Kitty’s role as mini reviewer came about by chance when she and her dad visited the Look Again Project Space in St Andrew Street and she started talking to Sally Reaper, Look Again’s co-director.
“We just kind of chatted about some of the stuff that was in there and Sally asked me if I would review it. It grew from there,” said Kitty, who has reviewed not only Look Again shows but also other creative events, including the Haan Design pop-up space in Aberdeen Art Gallery.
Sally said from the moment she met her, she was taken aback by Kitty’s passion for visual arts and her eagerness to learn more.
“Kitty and myself embarked on one of the most beautiful journeys around the exhibition, just chatting in a really kind of honest, and friendly and generous way and we just gelled instantly,” said Sally.
“In that moment, I thought we have to find a way to harness this enthusiasm, this passion, this eagerness to understand what was in front of her within the artworks. And that’s where her journey started as the Look Again mini reviewer.”
Sally added that seeing art through a young person’s eyes might help break down any notions people have of being uncomfortable in art galleries and decide to discover art for themselves.
British Art Show has world-class reputation
“We know that because of Kitty’s reviews, we’ve had families come into the art gallery, because the way in which she tells her story, the way that she feels about the art, definitely makes people feel more comfortable.”
British Art Show 9 is the biggest event yet for Kitty’s critical analysis. It’s an iconic exhibition with a world-class reputation, important not just for Aberdeen but for the whole of the UK.
It is clear, though, Kitty is a big fan of the exhibition, which will run until October 10 before moving on to Wolverhampton, Manchester and Plymouth.
“I hope that people will be able to understand the message I’m trying to convey and come to the exhibition and enjoy it themselves and be able to read about it from a child’s point of view and understand how I feel about it.”