Art Can Help Improve Education

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By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK Child art should be seriously considered as a promotional subject in Namibian schools in order to help improve the education system in the country. This urgent plea was made on Monday evening by the director of the Namibia National Art Gallery, Joseph Madisia, who officially opened the annual JMAC After-School Art Classes Exhibition. A number of exceptionally high quality children’s works are on display at the exhibition, which runs for the next two weeks at the gallery in the Katutura Community Art Center. “Research has shown that children develop visual imagery from a very early age and that such art development is influential in determining the focus of the visual art curriculum in schools. However, as the case is in Namibia, art is not considered as a promotional subject, but it demands consideration to help improve the educational system,” said Madisia, himself an artist. He further praised the efforts of the JMAC After-School Art Classes for filling a great need for children, who otherwise might have missed such an opportunity. “Two broad categories are identified as an integral part of art education: the developmental stages of child art as a basis for learning and in art education child art refers to observable media qualities and technical devices employed. Therefore, it is imperative that art educators need to know how, why and at what stages of maturation children develop forms of symbolic representation of their environment,” Madisia said. He went on to explain the difference between mature and child art from his own perspective. “Child art differs from mature art-making primarily in the engagement of a limited range of techniques, the level of media control and the absence of conscious attention to either technique or style, which can be to a lesser extent be found in adult art-making,” he asserted. According to Madisia children do not create art in a vacuum. “Children are daily confronted with images from the media such as television, magazines, children’s books, newspapers and comics, a rich resource for art creation ideas, topics and themes. In my opinion there is clear proof in some of the art works currently on display – sure signs of creativity to be the future artists of this country,” said Madisia, who also thanked the parents of children for allowing them to take part in after-school art classes.