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You can draw all over Tate Modern’s floor for a month

‘Mega Please Draw Freely’ is inviting everyone to scribble, doodle and write on the Turbine Hall floor

Chris Waywell
Written by
Chris Waywell

If you’re the kind of parent who avoids museums and galleries in case your semi-feral offspring run about screaming and wet themselves before breaking something or drawing on the walls, Tate Modern is about to sort out your summer.

From July 24 to August 29, everyone is invited to turn the floor of Tate Modern’s massive Turbine Hall into a giant work of art. It’s the first event in a new strand for the gallery, Uniqlo Tate Play, a free programme of art-inspired activities for families.

‘Mega Please Draw Freely’ will see visitors scribble, doodle and generally deface the Turbine Hall floor using art materials provided by the gallery. The floor itself will have a temporary coating so that all that expensively polished concrete isn’t permanently destroyed by children (and adults) writing rude words on it. The project is the brainchild of artist Ei Arakawa, who was inspired by the radical postwar Japanese artistic group Gutai, who wanted to effect social change through painting, performance and children’s games. For the group’s Outdoor Gutai Art Exhibition in 1956, Yoshihara Jirō conceived the work ‘Please Draw Freely’, a huge board on which visitors were invited to draw and paint.

Along with the Turbine Hall happening, Yoshihara’s original ‘Please Draw Freely’ installation will be recreated outside Tate Modern. Boards will be available for the public to draw on every day, among the trees beside the Thames, echoing Gutai’s belief in outdoor and openly participatory creativity. There will also be free workshops to make huge collaborative banners that will be hung from the Tate’s ceiling, in homage to the suspended artworks of the 1960 Gutai Sky Festival. There will be a free display about Gutai on level 4 too.

The Tate is promising lots more creative activities throughout the year as part of its new programme, so get sharpening those crayons (or whatever you do with crayons).

‘Mega Please Draw Freely’, Tate Modern, Jul 24-Aug 29. Free, but Tate requires advance booking.

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