State of Play

State of Play, a new exhibition at the Aga Khan Museum, explores how four simple objects — a ball, stick, rope, and hoop — used in play by children all over the world, can act as the impetus to develop social bonds, emotional resilience, and well-being.

Comprised of a four-channel video and a hanging sculpture of similarly shaped objects and toys, the Atrium exhibition reveals the serious role fun and games play in our lives because of their universality and transformative powers. As the exhibit reveals, play is about more than a carefree child rolling a hoop in the playground or drawing in the dirt with a stick.

“Games throughout history haven’t always brought joy to all players,” says Special Projects Curator Marianne Fenton, “but through play, we learn social rules and confines. Children hurt each other, learn to forgive each other, and then collaborate.”

Created by Toronto multimedia artist Jennie Suddick, in collaboration with Anna Rose, an interdisciplinary artist based in Florence, Italy, State of Play inspires the visitor to think about play more broadly, in terms of creativity, its ability to destress the engagers, and as a developmental tool embedded in culture.

Curated by Marianne Fenton

Thank you to the Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council for the generous support of this project. 

Using Format