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Monday, January 12

How many ARTISTS are there in the room?

Just started reading Daniel Pink's best-seller : A Whole New Mind. There is a wonderful anecdote in one of the chapters on 'Design'.

Gordon MacKenzie, a longtime creative force at hallmark Cards, often visited schools to give talks about his profession. He'd open each talk by telling students he was an artist. he'd then look around the classroom, notice the artwork on the walls, and wonder aloud who created the masterpieces.

"How many artists are there in the room?" MacKenzie would ask. 'Would you please raise your hands?"

The responses always followed the same pattern. In kindergarten and first-grade classes, every kid thrust a hand in the air. In second-grade classes, about three-fourths of the kids raised their hands though less eagerly. In third grade, only a few children held up their hands.

And by the sixth grade, not a single hand went up. The kids just looked around to see if anybody in the class would admit to what they'd now learned was deviant behaviour!!

Perhaps, it's even more true in our culture. There is a touch of sarcasm in most people when they say - "Yeh toh thoda artist types hai", "Artist hai bhai, isko duniyadaari kya aayegi", "Chhor do yaar, yeh artist log aisen hi hote hain"... Emphasising that the creative, the artist is a deviant.

Society still collectively conspires to pull down the many raised hands in kindergarten grade one and later...

Therefore, I was thrilled when my wife asked Neo(my 5 year old son) the other day while he was painting- "Aur tum kaun ho?". And he smugly said - "Main artist hoon"...I hope he always raises his hand...

3 comments:

meraj said...

very nice post, Manish and Amen to your wish...may Neo always be an artist.

Pooja Nair said...

This is so true and so heart-breaking Manish...

A school friend of mine wrote this post some time back about how he was denied the canvas all his life...wern't we all? (figuratively speaking)

http://wetspark.blogspot.com/2008/12/missing-canvas.html

I too wish that our Neo will always raise his hand! (He's 5 already! Time sure flies)

Manish said...

lovely post your friend has written...

however, i would like to believe we can change the rules of hand raising if we try hard and honest in a generation or two...

each of us needs to influence just a few of us and it will create a positive cycle of appreciation.

am sure there will be more artists in the room and Neo will be one of them:-)