On Curiosity and Drawing: Reflections on Science Flair @ ArtScience Museum

On Curiosity and Drawing: Reflections on Science Flair @ ArtScience Museum

A visiting Art professor from the US said, “You Singaporeans don’t know how blessed you are to have the ArtScience Museum.” She visited recently and was blown away by the exhibits.

Maybe we’re kind of comfortable with what we have and where we are in, that it takes the child-like curiosity of foreign visitors to tell us that we’ve got it not just good, but great.

Over the past two days at ArtScience in Focus: Science Flair, I’ve probably seen as many (and sometimes more) visitors than Singaporeans.

At the session today, another professor (of Physics) did a number of fascinating Physics demonstrations that left the audience going “WAHHHHHH.” Then there was that “world debut” of their double pendulum x florescent drawing contraption invented by NUS High students, no less! I was gasping in wonder at many points of the demonstrations too.

And he said, not just once, that science should be “wahhhhh!!!!!” Not, “wah lau!” To a full house of entertained parents, children, students, visitors.

Curiosity never killed the human though it killed the proverbial cat. Neither did caution breed the next generation of fresh young minds.

You’d watch a two-year old pick up a marker/crayon/chalk without being asked to, and quite simply start sprint-drawing away.

And then he/she matures into a (hopefully) precocious four-year old and starts asking, “Mummy, can I draw? Mummy, what should I draw? Mummy, how do I draw?” To which the adoring mother, in all good intention, begins giving helpful suggestions. Done right, encouraging. But sometimes they reinforce that need for approval.

We ask because we don’t know our perimeters and boundaries. We testily try to find them. But when we do, we also know that within these boundaries that exist (for good reasons), we are free to explore. That is freedom.

Unfortunately, a rare breed of teens as well as adults grow up not knowing beneficial boundaries because of feedback (from self or others) confused as judgement.

It’s not that we “can’t draw” but the grown-up saying, “I can’t draw as well as I think I should, or I’d like to, or what I think I am expected to.”

And when the grown child picks up a marker/chalk/crayon to make a mark, the wonder returns to collective applause and awe from everyone around.