If I had a gun to my head and I am asked to either draw a cup or get shot, just start making my burial arrangements because I cannot draw a cup to save my life (you read that right) but I have a very huge interest in arts of all forms, all shades and varieties (sounds strange?)
In this part of the world when a child draws relatively well, the adults around that child will encourage him/her to take ‘Fine Arts’ seriously. We forget that knowing how to draw does not mean that child will end up becoming a great artist; for all I know, they could end up becoming architects – which in itself is an art form.
Interest in the Arts is an innate passion. Those driven by that passion often times end up making a career out of it. The fire of that passion should be recognized and encouraged. An artist is a creator but the art of creating is not limited to just drawing. Art is broad in scope and drawing is only an aspect of that expression, so we should not limit arts to drawing alone.
If our school curriculum keep limiting ‘Fine Arts’ to drawing alone, those children with the innate ability and passion to express arts through dancing, writing (songs, poetry, spoken words, etc.), singing, etc. will have to keep waiting for ‘speech and prize giving day’, ‘cultural day’ or any of those ‘once in a blue moon days’ in school before they can express their creativity.
There is a need to bridge the gap that exists between art as an interest and art as a school subject. Arts as a school subject should accommodate and encompass other aspects of arts. I look forward to the day our Ministries of Education will expand the curriculum of ‘Fine Arts’ as a school subject especially in our public schools.
Let us debunk the stereotype or narrative that ‘Arts’ in all its totality as an interest for lazy and unintelligent people (creative people are exceptionally intelligent). If you ask me, I consider Thomas Edison a creative, because a whole lot of imagination must have gone into the process of creating the light bulb.
Africa is the home of creativity and it is one of the things that make us stand out as a people. Everything from our clothes and hairstyles to our beautiful body paintings and colorful beads, and down to what is now termed as ‘body scarification’ — I actually think’ body scarification’ is what gave birth to ‘modern tattoos’ – we are a very creative bunch.
Africa has an abundance of creative energy. It’s high time we began to tap more into it.