London teacher opens Confiscation Cabinets at the V&A Museum of Childhood

By Culture24 Reporter | 29 November 2013

Items confiscated during three decades of London classroom teaching have been turned into an exhibition by a teacher at the V&A Museum of Childhood

A photo of a large number of small toy objects captured from classrooms in London
Items confiscated from primary school girls in London form part of a new exhibition at the V&A Museum of Childhood© Guy Tarrant
A tiny Star Wars stormtrooper distracted a boy in an inner city classroom sometime during the last two decades of the 90s. Two creepy crawlies – a spider and a reptile – were swiped in 1998. And Pokemon, Top Trumps and football sticker trading cards have largely been taken from young hands since the turn of the century.

A photo of a small troll-like toy with bright red hair pinned to a wall of a gallery
© Guy Tarrant
These are the spoils of covert schoolday disobedience as seen by Guy Tarrant, an artist and teacher who has been assembling his evidence of mischief for three decades.

The artefacts come from more than 150 London primary and secondary schools. Improvised pea shooters, a mini water pistol and caps are among the weapons.

“These types of items may often reveal an insight into the elaborate lives of
young people,” believes Tarrant, who has taught for more than 15 years and says he is “dedicated to trying to improve” the education system.

“Since qualifying as a teacher my art practice has concentrated specifically on school pupil interactions involving play and resistant behaviours.

“The objects in the cabinets evidence playful activities that reject and evade rules, activities that are impulsive, free and with a touch of danger.”

  • Confiscation Cabinets is at the V&A Museum of Childhood, London, until June 1 2014.

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A photo of a large group of small toys
© Guy Tarrant
A photo of a large number of small toy objects presented in a curatorial fashion
© Guy Tarrant
A photo showing a close-up of small toy figures from childhood action films
© Guy Tarrant
A close-up photo of a small toy black tarantula and a small toy lizard in black and yellow
© Guy Tarrant
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