A child’s drawing is something. We might find a unicorn with two horns, or sometimes an orange spaceship. As adults, we dismiss the idea with a condescending chuckle, appreciate the child for keeping the color inside the borders and stick the drawing on the fridge. But we miserably fail here- to take the time to hold the paper and see it for the pure piece of self-expression that it is.
A child’s drawing is divine. Its art with almost complete disregard to the societal confirms. And that is exactly what makes these drawings original. What we see are the children’s dreams, desires and all the things that make an impression on them, looming large on a page. So yes, you are bound to find an abundance of impossibility looking at the drawing of an orange spaceship resting on the fridge. But that is what showcases the child’s natural creative genius. And we as adults need to take the responsibility to not squander it ruthlessly.
It is time we have an encouraging conversation with our children about their imagination, through art.
TGES, Rajkot is where we found the opportunity to start this conversation.
TGES, Rajkot has always taken great pride in being an educational institute, exercising curriculums that are progressive, experiential and compassionate. Our prior associations with the teachers and students as a whole had brought our notice to a good fact of how the organization valued creativity and literacy equally. Their learning processes across subjects encouraged lateral and free thinking amongst young minds, that is otherwise crushed under conventional curriculums, that restrict creativity and stigmatize mistakes.
We were assigned with the task of livening up the rather plain lobby of the junior building of the school, as opposed to its bustling and beaming atmosphere.
The space design needed to be bespoke of the breadth of children’s creativity (years 3-8) and how the institution inspired and fostered it. Our team was certain the task of creating a space representational of the students’ creativity could not be done without the students being involved.
All our rigorous team discussions and brainstorming led us to one question-
It was a simple question in the inquiry of open-eyed dreams of children and how they link to their underlying aspirations. Each and every child would draw their answer on a canvas. All of these canvases would be then curated and installed over a wall.
With the happy assistance of teachers and staff, we conducted an art workshop with around 300 kids. What seemed like an impossible feat turned into an experience of wonder and revelation.
We initiated the workshop by having a playful conversation with the students about their very perception of dreams, revolving around what would they want to be. We wanted them to break away from the professions that are fed to them as aspirations, and really make them think. Because a 6-year-old can’t originally be dreaming of becoming an engineer, but he could be thinking of building machines in the back of his head during boring lectures- which is the tipping point where children are educated out of their dreams.
We made the children believe that this wasn’t a test where mistakes would be stigmatized. We provided them with the tool (crayons of gradient and canvases), and then got out of the way so that the young kids would create to their hearts’ content.
Creativity is our vehicle of self-expression and at the heart of what defines us as the human race. For almost the entire duration of human life on earth, the popular conception of creative people is that they are born that way, with unique gifts that obliges them to seek out and fulfill the singular vocations of their destiny. For many of us, perhaps the school system fails us in seeing the true value of studying art, design, music, or dance.
But in truth, all children have a seed of creativity inside them. It is a matter of how that seed is fostered that determines fruition. Our efforts should be in the direction of educating the children to use the extraordinary capacities for innovation, to actually realize their dreams.
Let children believe that dreams are not a deceiving entity.
As designers, we wanted to inspire a small shift in thinking not only for the students but also for the parents who come in, of how we perceive children’s imagination and how little know of it. This installation that spans over the main white wall of the lobby like a merry rainbow, is a matter of both, pleasure and pride for every member of the school. As for others, they look at it with a twinkle in their eyes, like that of a child.