Masters in the making

A Facebook group called StayHome: MakeArt (Budding Talents Aged 3-8), set up by the multimedia artist Maysaloun Faraj, is providing aspiring young artists with a welcome channel for creativity during lockdown, as Miriam Dunn discovered


The Tiger who Came to Tea by Ayla (aged 4)


What was the inspiration for the StayHome: MakeArt (Budding Talents Aged 3-8) Facebook group and what were you hoping to achieve by setting it up?


Children’s art is inspirational in its freedom of expression, something that is very hard to capture in later life. I witnessed this through my own children when they were growing up and now with my grandchild Ayla who is aged four. Inspired by the current lockdown due to Covid-19, embracing the message ‘Stay Home Save Lives’, I created this Facebook group to encourage Ayla and children everywhere to make art.  Parents, grandparents and relatives are invited to post work by their little ones to share with other budding talents around the globe.  Seeing their work online can inspire more creativity and hopefully keep children occupied and engaged during this ‘Stay at Home’ period.  When this crisis is over, I aim to curate an online catalogue of selected work from the posts as further testimony and documentation of this unprecedented moment in history.


Home by Zayan (aged 5)

What do children bring to a piece of art that adults don’t?


In the words of Pablo Picasso: “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” It is that spontaneity, freshness and raw energy that children bring to a piece of art that is most inspiring.  After a certain age, children are ‘taught’ art and ‘skill’ quickly takes over.  That rare naivety that is so precious and pure is very difficult to capture in later years.  


Birds in Nest by Hana (aged 6)

Have you been surprised by the standard of art uploaded to the group? What particular aspects of the work submitted have impressed you?


Surprised, perhaps not, as I am only too aware of the diversity, richness and abundance of creativity in children, once given the chance to express themselves.  Simply, I am impressed by every aspect in their artwork; from imagination to the confidence of lines, subject, implementation, colour, composition and everything that constitutes ‘good’ and perhaps even thought-provoking art.


Vincent Van Gogh by Mila (aged 7)

We won’t ask you to choose a favourite, but can you tell us about a few pieces that have really stuck in your mind?  


Oh, this is a very difficult question to answer; Ayla is, after all, my granddaughter and I do not wish to appear biased!  Seriously though, for each and every artwork there is that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’, that uniqueness that is difficult to put into words. In my view, all children are remarkable artists as they draw/create purely from the heart.


Rainbow Maya (self-portrait) by Maya (aged 7)


What is your advice for children who are thinking of giving art a go while on lockdown?  


I would say: “Let me have your art!  And please ask your mama, papa, grandma, grandpa or anyone in your family to post it in this group!” More importantly, I would urge parents and families to encourage their little ones to express themselves through art. Whether it is pencil/crayon/felt-tip on paper, collage with cut up bits and bobs, decorating home-baked goodies, dressing up, making music or dancing to it, it is all expressive, fun and all-too important, particularly in these testing times. Art is cathartic and a tremendous tool for joy and healing.


You can find StayHome: MakeArt (Budding Talents Aged 3-8) on Facebook


Sonic the Hedgehog by Shakeel (aged 7)


The Tree by Alana Malhame (aged 7)


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