The Soft Library by Cat Rabbit

The Soft Library is an ode to an institution that in restricted times and with the advent of personal screens and the internet could do with a little love, and renewed sense of wonder. Textile artist Cat Rabbit has created an installation designed to delight young audiences and pique their interest in libraries as a place of inspiration and learning.

Cat Rabbit, installation view of The Soft Library, 2021

For the show, Bayside Gallery has been transformed into a library run by bears, or ‘libearians’ who pay homage to famous literary characters as well as depict writers from the area. The forms are mainly comprised of felt and the space is filled with books, portraits, animations and a special giant ‘storytime’ bear who will regale the young gallery-goers with an audio-story. You’ll also find a shelf of special new books where local school children have collaborated with the artist to produce stories about their own lives.

Cat Rabbit, Zadie Smith, 2021, felt, fabric, thread and wire

Cat Rabbit says she was inspired to create this installation and work with the local young community because the library is ‘a place I’ve always felt safe, happy and excited.’

On view until the 16th of January 2022 a visit to Bayside Gallery at the Brighton Town Hall is a fun and educational holiday activity! Once you’ve experienced the show, go for a bear hunt around Bayside, to celebrate the exhibition 13 famous literary bears will be placed in the windows of cafes and libraries in the area.

Also check out the artist’s new children’s book How to Make Friends: A Bear’s Guide