top of page

Dear Parents, This is your Art Teacher Speaking (Part II)

Sufi, 7 years old | Title : Places

Dear Parents,


I'm not going to call you"Parents" in this blog. Temporarily I'm ending the provisional boundary between us,as 'parents' and a 'teacher' across a table just as the Spirit of Art ,that places a Maestro and a Child on par, does with perfect equanimity.

Dear Fellow Beings,

Just look at your 2 yr old… With a pencil clenched tight in her little fist,standing,sitting ,sprawling while scrawling away energetically on your freshly painted sitting room wall.

Look at her oblivion to the world. The total self absorption , that little body trembling with concentration, the focus of her sharp little eyes .

Sufi, 2 year old with her very own wall mural.

Right now in her brain a zillion tiny star like explosions are on as neural synapses forging new connections are firing away excitedly. What you think is a colossal mess on your wall is an indicator that a brand new, richly interconnected cognitive universe is in the making within her that's going to stand her in good stead for life…

She won't stop till fatigue or hunger takes over and the pencil is summarily dropped.

Unless of course you play spoilsport and rush into the room like a screeching banshee shocking the nervous system in functioning in top gear in that little body of hers. And then switch on the cartoon show on the TV screen upon which she ends up transfixed like a zombie slowly forgetting her sobs.

Artistic activity hugely benefits children under the age of three years since their brain are highly sensitive to external stimuli and is in a critical stage of development

Free engagement with sounds, movements, colors, shapes etc stimulate and strengthen the brain positively, enhance neural connections . Artistic activities in children foster intelligence of all kinds:

It stimulates both left & right hemispheres of the brain.

Increases memory power, attention and concentration, enriches imagination & emotional expression.

Helps develop reading & conceptual skills and strengthens the cognitive grid to perform better in math and science

Manu, 8 years old, life size Skeleton cut-out with scrap paper glued together.

You did not know any of this .But now

you realise that what you disrupted is a cosmic event with your fusspot focus on 'clean walls' & clockwork mealtimes.

It's important no doubt, but now that you understand what's actually going on, you will have gained the sensitivity to appreciate what you unwittingly interrupted. You will become a joyful curious patient participant the best that you can by tweaking schedules & routines accordingly, pinning large sheets on her level of wall … Or even applying a stretch of blackboard paint with a stock of thick chalks to facilitate her scribbling sprees till she graduates to more structured surfaces.

Along the same lines ,your four-seven year old makes a drawing that is not very intelligible in itself. But then he has this looong story about it! Now if only you will care to look at his animated face, as he strings up sometimes disjointed sentences and try to follow what he says , you will finally get it that the repetitive blob getting smaller and smaller in a loopy line covered with scratches is actually a man traveling into a thorny forest looking for a monster fish that is hiding in that oblong full of wavy lines,a pond!

My simple question to you (and myself too) - Would we have the simplicity , the courage to just doodle thus letting the line (as the wonderful artist Paul Klee said) take us for a walk?

When did we get so dry?

Look at this drawing by my friend's 8 year old who learnt recently that Pluto is no longer a planet.

Ravi Rijo Joseph, 7 years old | Title : Pluto is no longer a planet

That solar system is anything but dry!

Every inch bristles with feeling and life… Look at the visual positioning of Pluto(poor lost soul)… Anybody will feel his exclusion, his loss of status, his loneliness! And that gloating sun? Isn't he so dumbly wicked?!

This picture with it's deeply felt narrative is enough to imprint what's otherwise just a 'fact' deep inside as an unforgettable image, a feeling-field that cannot but affect us each time we see it and share it with others… In short, the Fact is now even more powerful when it is imbued with 'Affect'.

Ravi Rijo Joseph, 3 years old, | Title : JCB | His dad Rijo comments that JCBs were an obsession with Ravi at that age, especially the long mechanical arms and the twinkling lights.

This is why Art is not just one of those mandatory 'extra-curricular'' (read 'dispensable')or 'Co'curricular (read 'also-ran') 'subjects' to be taught but verily, a powerful Medium of Education,a fundamental kind of language that's embedded like an instinct and an intelligence that is best described as Bodily or Somatic.

Put simply,what made this remarkable drawing of Pluto possible is this little guy's gift of deep empathy that led him to really feel the exclusion of Pluto- the intense loneliness and sadness of Faraway little Pluto, once a part of the Solar System Family and then summarily dropped from it for no fault of his.

And worse,no one , not even the Sun at the center, sporting his cool shades, seems to get it !

… So the truest answer as to just why or when did we get so dry is, for whatever reason, we have stifled our natural sense of Empathy, the outstretched & loving arms of the soul .. We dam(n) our innate tendency to flow. We are afraid of being vulnerable…

Teresa Melvin, 10 years old | From the Ava series. Ava is an imaginary friend.

Yet all we need to do in terms of a wholesome, enlivening & enriching reversal is to just BE… And who can teach us this better than the little ones who, as Khalil Gibran reminds us, are born of us but who do not 'belong' to us?

They aren't our private property or possession( though mainstream society would have us believe otherwise), that we can treat as things we can break and train any which way that we will.

They are here to grace our lives so that we may have an opportunity to listen quietly, closely and intensely so that we may un-learn ...So that we get to remember one of the Great Secrets of Life that we were born with and then forgot...

'This is the real secret of life—to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.'

Alan W Watts

If this is the real secret of Life, this is the secret of Art too.

Because It reinforces the universal and innate sense of oneness that we are born with.The seeds of Joyfulness & Lasting Peace.

Sufi, 8 years old | Title : Friends

Ravi Rijo Joseph, 5 years old | Title : "Bye" | His dad comments "this is about how it feels when we leave one set of grandparents for the next."

Article written by

Radha Gomaty

Artist(Curator-Coordinator with EkaRasa)



bottom of page