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Medway: Chatham Historic Dockyard exhibition with children's author Michael Foreman Painting With Rainbows

By Angela Cole

Journey through a world of storytelling and illustrations, in a caring world without conflict, that celebrates the importance of friendship.

That will be the experience on offer for visitors to the Historic Dockyard Chatham from this weekend as children’s book illustrator Michael Foreman’s work goes on show.

Painting With Rainbows, which will run until Sunday, November 26, is dedicated to the award-winning author and his creations for children.

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A new exhibition at the Chatham Dockyard features the work of children's author Michael Foreman
A new exhibition at the Chatham Dockyard features the work of children's author Michael Foreman

A children’s illustrator for more than 50 years, Michael’s original artwork will be on show alongside playful props and costumes.

It will explore his storytelling and will imagine a world without conflict, that cares for the environment and celebrates the importance of friendship.

Visitors can travel through drawings from his ever-present sketchbook and storytelling plus activities including an air raid experience where an ARP warden will lead them into shelters and learn about air raid shelters.

There will be cosy reading corners where youngsters can sketch away with drawing activities and write ideas for “peace” on the blackboard.

Kate Edwards, chief executive of Seven Stories, said: “This exhibition is a fantastic opportunity for us to highlight Michael’s outstanding contribution to children’s literature.

"His books have shaped generations of readers as well as inspire new and emerging talent in children’s literature.”

Families can add to the Tree of Hope with messages for the future and explore stories of war and peace through War Boy, War Game, The General and Ali Pasha.

A multi-sensory environment inspired by Dinosaurs and All That Rubbish and One World gives youngsters the chance to build and play and there will also be a chance to get a glimpse inside his studio and see some of his own personal artefacts.

Michael said: “I am, of course, honoured to have been invited to exhibit at Seven Stories and very pleased with the way it has been made so interactive and child friendly.

"The Tree of Hope, where children can attach ribbons of their hopes and dreams adds a wonderfully positive and affirmative finale to the exhibition.”

He will be giving a talk and book signing at the dockyard on Thursday, November 9.

I spy an exhibition of children's author Michael Foreman's work
I spy an exhibition of children's author Michael Foreman's work

The exhibition originates from Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books, which is the only centre in the UK dedicated to the art of children’s books.

The Seven Stories exhibitions are recognised for their creative interpretation and ability to engage diverse audiences with original artwork and manuscripts.

Its touring exhibitions, like Painting with Rainbows, are part of the organisation’s mission to inspire a love of reading and champion the work of authors and illustrators.

It is supported by Arts Council England and Newcastle Culture Fund. For more details visit sevenstories.org.uk.


Michael Foreman, Painting with Rainbows, from Seven Stories will be at the Historic Dockyard Chatham from Friday, September 29, to Sunday, November 26, in the No.1 Smithery. For more details visit thedockyard.co.uk or call 01634 823800.

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