The past couple of years, I have been toying with the idea of a wholesome learning through Art. Instead of teaching young children to draw stick figures of people, animals etc., limiting their knowledge, I wanted the learning to be a 360 degree experience. In the sense, if I were teaching someone to draw a horse, I’d rather take them to the zoo so they can observe what a galloping horse looks like, what it looks like when it is grazing, what it looks like when it is lying still. How high can a normal human being reach up to a horse?
The primary limitation which I feel in representational art is the lack of being able to see reality for what it is. Post observation and discussion at the zoo, concentrating on one topic at a time, students can then sit and sketch what they see: how much the neck is twisting, how much can you see of the other side, not only this but what kinds of expressions the people make when interacting with a horse. Coaching someone to ‘see’ is a long process. It does not happen overnight. Each individual has varying capacities of ‘seeing’. Picasso ‘saw’ clearly at a very young age, while others at a later stage. You might be born with the ability to ‘see’ better but everyone is born an artist. What we do with that talent is what differentiates one from the other.
Traditional art class, has people inside class rooms being taught your normal two inverted V’s to denote a mountain, the zig zag of road going towards the mountain with fields on the side and a hut. I have come to the point that I am absolutely, visually exhausted to see such standardisation. It hurts me to see my nephew or niece resort to such a representation with lack of imagination. A child’s imagination cannot be compared to anyone else’s. Paul Klee, is considered a genius for being able to deconstruct his adult mind to tap into the child within to represent abstract forms. His paintings might seem like child’s play but how easy is child’s play? Are we disregarding something which has so much more value than is credited to it? Are we not dismissing huge potential which exists by blowing away the flames to creativity?
I have grown up learning in a standardised framework. However, the rebel within me could not be confined within a box and I taught myself to break free from the norms to learn what I wanted. Google, being my best friend and Wikipedia my favourite tutor. That burning desire to learn needs to be fueled at a young age to enable the children to know what they want to learn, to pursue their passion, to give it their 120% of their own free will. Not because you have a test next week which needs to be aced to pass. I do not believe in grades. I only believe in individual growth. If you have learnt something new and have retained that information to apply it to something that you are keen on doing, in my eyes you have passed in flying colours.