Art appreciation for kids, because you might be raising the next Amrita Sher-Gill
As for parents, well, you score bragging rights enough to last a year
“Raza’s ‘Bindu’ reminds me of George Seurat,” says one pint-sized art enthusiast to another. “Are you really calling abstract and post-impressionist art the same?” scoffs the other. This conversation might not seem peculiar until you realise that the exchange is taking place between two precocious seven-year-olds.
Art appreciation, apart from making your little ones seem all-too-cool, has hordes of other benefits — it improves mathematical application, and helps them express their emotions better. As for parents, well, you score bragging rights enough to last you a year.
There is an increased awareness about art facilitating holistic development, but it’s the resources we lack. One of the few places that offers this service is Artlinks. The Mumbai-based initiative was founded to help simplify art appreciation for adults and in 2017, branched out to help kids do the same. “Teaching art history and appreciation were my goals. People around me wanted to know how to go about collecting art or how to understand art, but had no resources that provide such information. I decided to fill that gap,” says founder Akanksha Nemani. “Kids have free imaginations, a lack of inhibitions, and a sense of innocence that helps them interpret art in ways that are unique and magical,” she adds.
By using storytelling to introduce children to the works of pioneers like MF Hussain, Andy Warhol and SH Raza, and using interactive methods of learning (like making face masks inspired by Picasso’s cubism, pop art prints mimicking Warhol’s style, and the action painting workshop based on Jackson Pollock’s art), Nemani has managed to master the most revered skill among parents – the art of getting pre-teens to stay still for more than 30 seconds, without an iPhone or iPad.
For all those who are tired of picking between lying through your teeth or crushing their little Da Vinci’s dreams by telling her the truth about her rendition of the Mona Lisa, here are some easy ways you can help cultivate your little one’s love for art:
– Visit art galleries and museums together.
– A fun activity you can do is ask children what a painting or sculpture means to them before you actually tell them what it stands for. This helps them use their imagination freely. It also teaches them about symbolism in an interactive manner.
– Encourage the kids to dabble with different mediums – not just colour pencils and crayons. Introduce them to watercolour, acrylics, oil paints etc. This helps them understand the different effects each medium creates and what it’s best suited for.
– When discussing a particular artwork with your child ask them questions like – What can you see in this artwork? How does this artwork make you feel? Does it remind you of anything? What do u think the artist was thinking when s/he created this work? How do you think s/he created it? These questions will help kids develop their analytical and critical thinking skills
– Don’t be overly critical of your child’s creations. As long as the child is using art to express, the aesthetic value of the outcome is irrelevant.