Every Child is an Artist

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One of the most influential artists of the twentieth century Pablo Picasso once said that every child is an artist; the problem is staying an artist when they grow up. The legendary artist showed a passion for art from an early age. Extraordinarily creative, Picasso gained universal fame for his groundbreaking artistic accomplishments. He became one of the outstanding figures in art. His aphorism that every child is an artist is indeed irrefutable. Children growing up have full of wonders in their mind. They would often ask lots of questions especially when their cognitive process starts developing. Their questions are simple yet difficult to answer. Question like why do we feel sleepy has no simple answer. It is often a challenge for an adult to explain such simple quarry from a three years old child for instance. Where from do we start the explanation? Do we begin it from a biological point of view? That human body requires taking rest for its proper functioning. Or simply put it as a rule that we all must follow. We realise the futility or inadequacy of our explanation when the child tenderly adds another “why” to his question. This is not because the child is argumentative or wants to score a point against us. The truth is that the imaginative expanse of a child’s mind is wider than an average adult. Similarly an artist’s mind traverse through the realms of imagination while trying to envision a work of art. Hence the universality of Picasso’s aphorism that every child is an artist need not be put into test. In our present social context parents often infringe the artistic space of their children. Parents often spoon feed their children with their own choices particularly when it comes to the question of choosing a career. A child’s creative potential is bypassed so as to fit him or her to the choice they made. A career that promises a respectable job with handsome salary is the conventional choice. In short, economic security and a social status for their children is what the parents want. Any career which does not promise a stable income is discouraged. On the other hand, one cannot wholly blame the parents with their stance; given the reality that most of the artiste who are in the profession of performance art live without a stable income, which is true for the writers as well. And moreover it takes time for an artiste to prove his talent unless one is accorded with some kind of award or a title. Within this backdrop, however, there are parents who give ample creative space to their children. We would like to congratulate the parents of Athena Thiyam who had her book released on May 20 titled “The Other World and Others”. The book is an anthology of sixty poems and two essays written in English language by twelve years old Athena. We would also agree with the noted writer B Jayantakumar Sharma, who during the release of the book asserted that today’s urban children have very little time to pursue creative work. Children are regimented with tuitions and homework. Community playground are dwindling at fast pace. Therefore it is rewarding to see parents like that of Athena’s encouraging her for a creative pursuit. Speculations are being made that Athena would become a famous writer in the days ahead, or that she could excel to the point of getting a Nobel Prize. We however would like to put a hold on the kind of speculations being made. We plead: let Athena be allowed to walk along with the “why” of everything that sees and feel without any promises of fame and fortune. Athena sees all her worries going away when she saw the sea for the first time. She says in her ‘A Trip to Mangalore’ essay: ‘the way how the waves splashed each other could make a grumpy man turn himself into a soft-spoken man’. Let the artist remain in her when she grows up. Her artistic growth will be reward in itself.

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