Part of a project by artist Mark Neville, the exhibition highlights our responsibility to ensure that children across the world have the opportunity to play.
Known for his socially-focused projects based on expert research, Neville has been working on this exhibition – along with a book and symposium – as a way of advocating for children's universal right to play.
This right was identified by the UN in the 2013 General Comment on Article 31 (the Convention on the Rights of the Child), but with up to 13 million children currently displaced as a result of armed conflict and the privatisation of many of the UK's child-friendly spaces, this is an issue that needs to be urgently addressed.
On display at The Foundling Museum are images Neville has captured of children at play in diverse environments around the world. Included are photographs of internally displaced children in Ukraine, infants at the second largest refugee camp in Kenya and youths at play in London's adventure playgrounds.
Shot especially for this project, Neville's pictures reveal children’s spontaneous urge to play, even in the most unfavourable environments. It is through play that they are able to reclaim a sense of power, safety and freedom.
Neville's work is joined by photographs and film footage showing Foundling children at play from the former hospital's own archive.