The MASK Prize, a national creativity completion with prizes for young people in Kenya, has just closed its submission. As its International high-profile judges are determining this year's winners, they comment how inspiring and creative artwork by Kenyan children is.
Professional art world, mistakenly, does not take children's art seriously. While contemporary fine art doesn't offer any notable innovation, child art - uninhibited by adult standards - can be exciting and fresh.
As children grow, their art goes through a number of stages - scribbling, pre-symbolism, symbolism, and realism. It is the symbolism stage is the most exciting. A set of children's symbols - basis shapes and images - are based on their understanding of what they draw, not on observation. Children have a deeper perception of what they see. They don’t have preconceptions. Their experimentations with forms and materials, and their 'rejection' of realism relates well to the aesthetics of modernism.
A more than a century ago, the leading philosophers and education reformers Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Ruskin, Spencer and others, considered child art very important. In 1884, the International Conference of Education underlined the importance of developing children's artistic skills. In 1890, first European exhibition of art by children was organized in London. Around this time, an Italian art collector Corrado Ricci assembled the first collection of 1250 children's artworks.
Now we rarely display art by children in prominent locations. Is this because we don't see children as artists, or because we don't know how to best display their art? Children are artists, and their art, effectively displayed, can make a positive and powerful impact on our thinking and doing.
Buy work by children for waiting rooms, schools, children's libraries, cafe and hospitals. Contact Alla Tkachuk on [email protected]ArtCollector.Agency