Just recently, I got myself entangled in a conversational debate over how Singapore’s Art teachers should never ever fail a student who submits their work.
There’s a very simple reason for that.
ART IS SUBJECTIVE
We’ve all seen work by famous artisans and we see how much such art works can fetch BUT we never really understand what is it that the art is about or we try so damn hard to understand the message behind that art piece that cost millions of dollars.
And why do we do that?
That’s because that particular art work is what’s called ‘Abstract’ and since it’s abstract, it’s so beautiful that trying to interpret what it really is takes a long time.
Turning to what our students in school face with their teachers.
I’ve been told that students fail art despite them handing in their work and this is ever so demoralising to hear.It’s worst when you know that the art teacher says that a particular art piece in the museum was so abstract, it was so beautiful yet was hard to comprehend the emotions, thoughts and reason to why the artist had created such a piece of work worthy to be displayed in a museum and with a million dollar price tag attached to it.
And then the teacher tells the student who hands in a piece of work of perhaps a stick man dancing, fails. Something which is so easy comprehend, explains the exact emotions, thoughts and reason to why the artist had created such a work yet gets a failure grade for it.
Isn’t stick man dancing also a piece of art that we now revere because before humans used to draw stick mans in caves? And we even go at lengths to preserve such stick mans!
You get my argument right?
Art is of course subjective and no one should ever be allowed to give a failure grade for any art work that has been handed up and neither can anyone say if one piece of art work is better than the other simply because the value of the art work cannot be judged by a single person – a TEACHER.
The teacher is a single person who has certain expectations and inclinations cannot be a judge for a piece of art work.
If you don’t like a piece of art, doesn’t mean no one else doesn’t like it.
So, don’t fail any art students who hand in their work and don’t you dare even give a grade lower than an A because that piece of art work handed in is ever deserving of an A in every way.
If a stick man drawing in a cave is being preserved for it’s heritage and art and a piece of work that you can’t quite make out what it means is selling for millions of dollars, then your student’s piece of artwork is just as abstract and priceless as any other piece of art work that every artisan in the world creates.