Harvesting Our Talents
and from Ted Talks
'How schools kill creativity" a must see
Children are far greater artists than we understand and give them credit for, or opportunity to reveal. They are the supreme innovators bringing in new ideas. They view the world freshly and interpret today into sense for us. They decode and pattern rapidly and they live in a digital not analogue age, associated with fast transference of knowledge.
They know you can use your imagination to dance on the moon upside down before breakfast if you want to. They use their imagination and do more than six impossible things before breakfast. They can also draw very well when they want to. It is researched that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert. This is adult hours. Children with a will, can shortcut that very quickly. With eyes wide open and high motivation children learn far more quickly than adults. In the time an adult does one picture a child has thought of thirty ideas and produced a variety of work.
Children do not put boundaries around their imagination but adults do. Adults invent creatures for children because adults want to play with their own creativity ( often to make up for time lost when they were a child.) So, we have adult produced dungeons and dragons and Star Wars to entertain children. Children know Star Wars is not real. They understand an adult created Winnie the Pooh, The Big Bad Wolf and Donald Duck. Children understand that adults want to create something to give their child to play with. Adults want to share their ideas with children. Frequently, adults interrupt children`s flow and become leading supervisors exercising power and control over children.
When a child attends to the place of their passion they quickly become very engrossed, excitedly learn new skills, and surprise us with what they know and can do.
A child artist like Pirimi has always existed. However, throughout the ages there is little record of our gifted and talented child artists, and there has been far more notice taken of child musicians and composers. Pirimi is not a genius. He is a child who loves drawing and draws every day. Most of his early work is done in half an hour. He is quick, confident, and honest. His family know about him and leave him to it. They see that he is happy and he is labelled different but not necessarily difficult. They wonder what will become of him. People take his drawings and there are many of them. Pirimi does not complain because he just loves observing and creating. He works in a representational way because he is trying to produce exactly, but he can accept what happens on the page and let it go. He wants to hone skills and be accurate where and when he needs to be accurate. He uses short cuts and discretion. He is not afraid of mistakes of changing things as he goes and he can work quickly. He can also work slowly and carefully if he needs to. He never blames his tools, the paper, the materials, paint, or pencils. He just manipulates them the best way he can in the time he has and where he is at. He creates out of whatever material he can get his hands on. Being poor does not stop him being creative. He can use many technics which he has discovered as he goes. He can make things look rough, smooth, far away etc. He has worked this out for himself and gathered a tool kit of skills personal to him. He is excited with every opportunity to do more and to try different materials. He draws on anything available, even his hands. He is vitally interested in life.
Pirimi is conspicuous at an early age. Caregivers notice how he observes things intently. He loves life. He strokes surfaces, holds objects very carefully and focuses attention on small details. He loves adventure and nature studies. He collects things and asks questions. He loves watching movement and he loves observing people. From his beady eye observations, he then extracts the essence or character of his subjects. He develops empathy and understanding and his own style and direction.
Pirimi finds conforming difficult if he feels straightjacketed. He is happy when he is creating freely and unsupervised because Pirimi is self- motivated and fascinated with being here and now. His enthusiasm for creating rubs off on other children. They all know about him. They say he is a good artist. His teachers like to have him in their class but they are trying to steer him away from art into core subjects. He can feel his spirit being tested by infrastructures which prevent him from his own self- expression and his delight in creating freely. Conflicts may arise when Pirimi is asked to produce material for school projects on themes which do not interest him. His caregivers may tell him that he will never make money being an artist. He may shut off. He can become ill, or angry if he is stopped working on his dreams. He may become secretive and begin hiding is work. He may become a fourth-grade slump casualty. He may consider suicide.
Pirimi may not see his works as anything more than gifts to give away. He is generous and kind about sharing his prolific supply of art works because he knows he can create more and he is always striving to create new works and try out new processes. The process is far more interesting to him than the product. He loves to be involved in overcoming obstacles and he is motivated by solving problems in constructing art works. He has learned to expect the unexpected when working with materials. They may dry out quickly they may run, they may fuzz, or they may merge. These things are fascinating to him not frustrating. He watches carefully what is happening and stores that knowledge for another project to come.
He loves being in an art room and wants a studio of his own, he looks after his tools and values them. He knows the cost and value of materials. He is an excellent recycler and he restores and fixes materials. He values other artist`s efforts and shares with them. His conversations are always encouraging to others, particularly younger artists. He uses the two rules, love art and be kind. He is a pacifist and a humanitarian, an environmentalist with passion and compassion.
Pirimi is Pirimi. He has no interest in being anyone else. He is engaged with being the best he can be. He is not in competition with anyone else but himself. He is his own critic and judge. He is not a perfectionist, because he sees that there is no such thing as a perfect picture, production, or person. He knows he is happiest when he is creating and he dislikes interruptions when he is in the flow of a work. He may become a loner and he is happy with his own company. Pirimi thinks that what other people think about him is not his business. It is what he thinks about himself. He is strict with himself. He works hard with intense focus when producing an art work.
Pirimi has energy, because he has curiosity. He loves exploring inventing, discovering. He loves the natural world he lives in. Through his observations he knows about intrigue, injustice, and issues like inequality. He studies human relationships in his family and neighbourhood, he studies the life around him and he supports his community’s efforts to be creative. He becomes specie conscious and advocates for protection of endangered plants and animals, indigenous people, the planet, sustainability, and survival.
Pirimi is a role model example for children and teachers to examine. Pirimi raises questions in all of us and these needs to be asked and answered. Is there a place for him in today`s schools? Will he become a casualty statistic of systems which do not recognise his strength and potential? Will he leave school early? What will become of his spirit and ability?
We are the creative species, born to be creative. Our basic needs drive is to create, to invent, to discover, to explore and to find enjoyment and fascination in life. Humans love surprise, magic and wonder. A chance to dream, to see worlds within worlds and to express our feelings, is a human necessity not a luxury.
Pirimi is an observer and a doer. He does not waste time, he is fit and he works for growth of his own potential.
Pirimi is to be celebrated and encouraged by all.