Wednesday, August 17, 2011

dia del niño

Paintng by Milo Lockett

Argentina celebrates a peculiar holiday this coming Sunday. We call it "Children's day" and I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about childhood.

Childhood is the stage where it all begins. There is a lot of potential in that stage that develops over time. Much has been said about raising children but I think it has to do, foremost, with having a loving/positive relationship with them and your partner. You have to be encouraging and respectful at the same time. That simple, that hard.

To me, teaching/helping children to become INDEPENDENT is key. Once they achieve that at home and feel confident about themselves they will be able to use that confidence as a resource in life. Independence should not be imposed, it should be taught as something to conquer.

When I think of childhood, I think of these words: play, fun, games, friends, treats, toys, swimming, affection, sports, feelings, proximity, assurance, trust, simplicity, creation, fights, hardships, learning, laughter. Francoise Dolto, a famous French psychoanalyst, once said in her book The Cause of Children: "The sources of knowledge are found in children. They are metaphysical. They are beings that ask themselves true questions. As metaphysicists, they look for answers."

In Childhood, playing is the way to independence, a way to find one's own answers. Playing is natural and universal. It is the space we use to develop our potential. It is where children learn to control what they couldn't handle before, it is a creative experience in which their inner world, their own subjectivity is projected, it is a basic way of life. Playing helps us develop, it makes us feel omnipotent, gives us great pleasure and satisfaction, it surprises us, it is where we learn to trust ourselves, where we develop our self esteem.

Unfortunately, some of the spontaneity of childhood fades away in adulthood. We get too taken up by, as The Little Prince would say, "the adult world". I can think of someone that has not lost that freshness, Argentine painter Milo Lockett. He became famous a few years ago when he won ArteBA's most important prize. Everyone in Argentina has heard of him, and his works are purchased massively. He lives in the province of Chaco, he paints images of children, women, men and animals the same way a 4-5 year old would. His style, critics say, fits the category of "art brut". Milo has taught himself the skill, he learned to paint in childhood, he was passionate about it. His art is uncontaminated by artistic conventions, his work is spontaneous and his images, simple. Milo defines himself as an adult that never stopped being a child. I think Milo's case illustrates what childhood is and how it often continues, creatively, later on in life. Perhaps it is this that drives the masses to consume his work.

Happy Children's Day to your kids and to your inner child!

Post by: Valeria Mendez Canas

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