Tekst & Verbeelding

Over kunst, cultuur en natuur

Art education as an obligation

Museumvisit as a must 


This is the Readytex Art Gallery in Paramaribo, the capital of Surinam. I was there some time ago for visits and talks about art and culture. The enormous energy which the gallery director invests in showing and promoting the work of established and young artists inspired me, especially in this country where the circumstances are very complex and the future is uncertain. On the top of this beautiful building you see the Banabekee bird, a frequent appearance in the Surinamese nature with its pending nests: works of art in itself.

A few years ago I spoke at a meeting which was about the necessity of art and culture in society. I stressed that in my view schools should be obliged to visit museums with their pupils. Some people reacted Indignantly: "That's a Soviet idea!", someone said. "Kremlin!", shouted another. "You must not force children!", a third person said pointing his Finger to me. Each of these comments were made by, I assume, intelligent and well educated people. But I didn’t get their point and I still don’t. I said to one of them: "Ma'am, I am sure you accept that gymnastics are required a few hours a week, or Dutch language? History? ". It didn’t work out unfortunately. You don’t have to force children to be involved in art and culture. They usually enjoy it very much, because it tickles their imagination and creativity. And let us be sure: that is always a feast. Instead you have to force schools, because they consider for example a museum visit a break and not as an essential part of education, as It should be. Education in arts and culture as a basic ingredient of the curriculum? In some countries this is the case. However, in many others this is not, including the Netherlands. Learning to look at art, learning about the value of culture determines your way of seeing and thinking. It broadens horizons and increases creativity. It supports the ability to think outside of the box, which is needed so desperately to manage and even solve the problems of today and tomorrow. It should be out of any question that we educate our children as early as possible in arts and culture. This gives them essential tools for building the world of tomorrow.


March 2016