Why Study Art? | TateShots


There’s a deep desire in us to make
pictures I mean we’ve been drawing for 30 thousand years The teaching of drawing is teaching people to look. That’s what it’s
doing. It was really when I was at art school that I started to see the
relationship between history, philosophy politics and art. Prior to that I
thought that art was just making pretty pictures. Actually, art is connected to,
you know, life. You can’t teach art in the same way you can teach French. French
exists whether whether you do it or not but when you’re doing art, the centre of
doing art is in yourself. Most of the literate subjects do not ask
that of them, so this develops an entirely different realm of skill. Creativity is critical thinking and without it, how are you going to really
open up and ask harder questions? And art opens all of those kind of passages and
possibilities to think beyond what we already know. In a child’s education, the
doors need to be open to other universes other modes of thinking, and art is a non
pre-described, dangerous world full of possibility, and I think it’s a vital
space for children to have in their formative years of their education. From a top down level you don’t have innovation if you don’t have art. It’s as simple of that. It doesn’t matter if you’re gonna study history or geography or science, you still need to be creative because the people who are the
outliers in those fields are the most creative people. To have art in schools
be eroded, which is happening at the moment, is disastrous for Britain, I think,
because our best industry is the creative industry. Art and cultural production is at the very centre of what makes a society what
it is, and for an entire new generation not to know what is the cultural and
visual history of ourselves is kind of denying our own identity. Art is a reflection of the society that we are the kind of mirror that art holds up, the
way that art helps define the identity of a nation, that you can trace that back
historically, it’s deeply embedded in humanity. What art education does to
people who are not going to be artists is giving them the opportunity to build
certain aspect of themselves that otherwise will be either ignored,
undeveloped or repressed. It’s all about kids finding out who they
are, and they’re all different. That you can be whatever you want to be is something that art’s only taught me. It can access a part of your brain, body, spirit, mind that nothing else can. Nothing is more stimulating, exciting,
consoling than looking at a brilliant painting. Art in schools shouldn’t be
sidelined, I think it should be right there, right up in the front because I
think art teaches you to deal with the world around you. It’s the oxygen that
actually makes all the other subjects breathe. There’s a great quote by John
Ruskin: ‘Art shows us what it is to be human’ and really that’s why art
should be on the curriculum.

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