Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dwellings Part V: The Crumpled House

I thought of ironing this work before I take a picture of it, because I pulled it out of her school bag like this. But then I thought that it was the crumpled state of it that gave it its charm. She’s made this one in class, and stuffed it into her back to take it home. And so it is a crumpled house now.

She finds the design and the colors obviously more important than the folds.

What I found significant is that she draws always a pair of humans. A boy AND a girl. A king AND a queen. Somehow it has been imprinted on her that this is how it should be. That reminds me of a (Dutch) friend of mine. Single parents in Holland are a perfectly normal phenomenon. Children who have no father (and I do not mean those who have a father but he is no longer living with them) is maybe not as usual, but not unusual either. And so I have a (Dutch) friend, living here in Beirut, with her daughter. There is no husband, and no father. A conscious decision on the part of the mother. The daughter goes to school here, and she knows she has no father. She has a mother, but no father. This was a concept however that her (Lebanese) teachers could not get. So whenever she was asked to draw a portrait of the family, she would draw it with her mom, and she always got remarks over this, much to the exasperation of the mother, who finally pulled her out and enrolled her into a somewhat more modern school, where the concepts of ‘no father’ is more or less understood (but still frowned upon).
I wonder if teachers (and society) influence a child into what should be in the picture. What makes a 'proper' picture, and what does not?