Children have the ability to see through the mask of matter. When they are engulfed by the act of painting (especially without any ‘adult’ interfering), the resulting painting often features stark innocence, pure freshness and naked sincerity that happily defies what we usually define as ‘logic’. The common vibes that we receive from children’s paintings are serendipity, organic randomness, unpredictability, chance, coincidence, ‘go-with-the-flow’, providence, accidental, raw and unpretentious. Children epitomize the ‘person who loves to paint’ who is at peace with him/herself.
One might ask, who would allocate a time to meditate and intuit on such abstract vibes in today’s age on instantaneous communication?
We are living in a society of ‘spectacle’ in which impression, brand presence, positioning, business acumen and strategic planning are critical to one’s political, social and economic survival. It is a society that is supposed to operate on a highly specialized, systematic, organized, rational, ‘scientific’, and objective system – a legacy left by the operational logic of industrial paradigm. Progress, development and success are highly equated by tangible material gains and numerical indexes. Such society surrounds our children and in many ways defines, supports and sustains them.
Ironically, it is in such society that we may encounter countless random serendipities, accidents, unpredictability, and (assumed) coincidences. System crashes, cracks in buildings and highways, urban landslides, increasing crime rates, social deviants, corruptions, malpractices (especially in highly ‘scientific’ or ‘objective’ professions) are several familiar features of our progressive and developing Malaysian society. They contradict the rational system and objective operational logic that are supposed to sustain the society.
It is also in such society that we may witness increasing inclination or interests towards things abstract and intangible (can’t be explicated through numbers, formulas, graphs, diagrams). They signify a searching soul seeking for peace and tranquility, if not to escape the harsh objective reality that we have created for ourselves. The interests come in many forms, from spa, fishing, biking, to watching ghost movies and many more. In some cases, the underlying logic of these interests is ‘no logic’, since they don’t rigidly operate on a purely logically basis. In fact, in most cases, they rely on many abstract vibes that we may sense as we encounter children’s paintings.
Notwithstanding our ‘discriminative’ and ‘objective’ mind, children’s paintings always suggest that they operate on an open-ended mental outset (especially for children who are not in schools yet). It is not surprising to admit that such outset may at times, lead them to ‘no where’ (a place that only they know). It invites their mind to float and meander aimlessly in a suspended reality (that may be more real that the objective reality that we as adults have created for ourselves).
Their paintings epitomize a sense of their mind letting go, of detachment (from objective reality) and at times of submission (to Creative Intelligence). When they paint, it seems like they are partly in control, partly not, allowing creation to unveil naturally. They epitomize humanity in its ‘close-to-pure’ state.
Perhaps, children’s paintings are complimentary counterpoints for our clouded soul, cloaked or veiled by our own ‘objective logic’. When we felt trapped or could not escape from seeing our world beyond its material appearance (or value system), perhaps children’s paintings can help us to return our true ‘Self’ beyond all discriminative physical/material differences. They may assist us to connect with others and with the whole universe (quantum field), leading us to our own Abode of Love and Compassion – where we will attain eternal peace.
Make peace with our own selves.
Hasnul J Saidon
(This essay was adapted from another essay of mine entitled ‘Negating Paradox’, in “Alun : A Solo Exhibition by Hamidi Hadi”, Wei Ling Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, January 2007.)