Valuing and Preserving Children’s art

How many of us have kept drawings we have done when we were little (before the age of 12)? Those of us who still have artwork from our childhood might have had them stored away for keep’s sake or for memory. How many of these drawings are still in good condition, or even framed? Do we see the value in keeping childhood art, or is there a value of these drawings themselves? There is no point in preserving something if that item is not worth keeping, and this leads us to ask, how do we determine the value of a child’s drawing? Do we merely view these drawings as doodles—as messy combinations of lines and colours that are seemingly uncoordinated and immaturely formed—or as genuine and untainted expressions of art?

Artist Paul Klee, whose style has been likened to children’s art, regards children’s art as a source of inspiration. Not only that, he also strongly believes that art made by children and by those who are mentally ill should be taken seriously by others (The Diaries of Paul Klee,1898-1918). Such artwork contains a kind of artistic expression that is pure, direct and genuine, something that can not fabricated or imitated. This organic essence becomes scarce and rare as knowledge and schooling take over as part of the growing up. It is something unique, irreplaceable, and valuable: in fact, It should be preserved not only as a precious childhood memory but as a precious momento of art. The value of children’s art should be regarded on the same level as all other art.

The series of #wecanalldraw is set up with the intention to acknowledge the value of children’s art and to preserve them as collections of bodies of art work. Currently there is a small collection of children’s art collected through the #wecanalldraw exhibitions. I hope to see more works that express such a spirit of genuine art and to preserve them as part of the #wecanalldraw collection.

My personal tribute to the #wecanalldraw collection is this piece that I made when I was about 12 years old. This piece is unique in the way that it is the most colourful piece I have ever made. I love using lines and tones in my drawings but never use more than 3 colours in an image. I remember this piece was made with found objects and pigments. Initially I wanted to make a grey robot with the found wood pieces but there was only very little black pigment and not any white and my arm got tired after hand-sawing the first piece of wood. I was a little upset by the colour situation and my poor carpentry skills but I did manage a little problem-solving and eventually turned a monotone robot into a colourful clown.

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