The illustration on this page of a children’s book called “The Everything Seed”, which is a white dot on a completely black background, always reminds me of how my creativity, or my attempt at it, was dealt a blow in an art lesson in my primary school years.
The learning objective of that lesson was etching. What we were told to do was to first use coloured pencils to fill the sheet of paper with rainbow colours, then use a crayon to smother the rainbow colours with a layer of black, and finally use a sharp bamboo stick to etch a picture on the black, the lines of which would reveal the rainbow colours underneath. I wanted to do something different from what my classmates were doing, which was to draw beautiful pictures of people or country scenes, so I just etched a single tiny dot.
The teacher walked around and commented on the students’ work. When he reached my desk, I was ready to explain my design concepts to him. But I was never given the chance. Concluding that I was fooling around, the furious teacher sharply scolded me before the whole class and ordered me to do what my classmates did.
So, ironically, it was in an art lesson that I learnt very early on that there are settings in life where creativity does not have a place.