An invitation: Be a young artist’s assistant

Recognising childrens’ artistic talents empowers them and makes us all better artists.

Its easy to be dismissive of children’s art. We see a character with an oversized head and tiny hands and we think “oh that’s cute.”

In fact, many contemporary artists take their inspiration from children’s art. Children express artistic freedom and playfulness without barriers through a state of mind we call ‘the zone’. Artists like Rothko and Picasso understood this deeply and spent a lifetime trying to achieve this perfect naivety.

As Flowers for Africa, we believe that each child is a creative genius. Our method places total trust in the children doing our workshops with as little interference as possible in their artistic process.

First and foremost, we see our role as assistants to these young artists, assigned to realize their vision. That’s why we are ‘facilitators’ not ‘teachers’. We mix paint, hand out brushes and generally create an environment for the magic to happen. We don’t make a single stroke, the children do it all.

That’s not to say our background as trained artists isn’t valuable; its actually critical.

As artists, we recognize children’s innate gifts and so provide a safe environment for them to make art. We channel their energy by giving ideas and guiding how the paint makes its way onto the canvas. With creative direction and a visual eye, we boost the shyest child and help the most boisterous to produce something mind-blowing.

Most importantly, our artistic appreciation of their work creates reservoirs of confidence and self esteem.

Because by recognizing how much children have to teach us and allowing them to shine, we truly empower them.

Are you a professional artist who resonates with our approach and is willing to become a young artist’s assistant? Flowers for Africa is looking for established artists to collaborate on a series of facilitated workshops for children in under-privileged communities across South Africa. The results would be presented in an inspiring exhibition that would showcase the children’s art pieces and the origins of artistic inspiration.