“My Kid Could Do That”

Art Scene

“My Kid Could Do That”

Tabula rasa is a psychological theory that originated in the 13th century from Thomas Aquinas as the idea that all humans are born with minds like a “blank slate,” and our identities are built on our experiences after birth. This notion was contradicted by the philosophical doctrine of innatism, which essentially states that humans are born with the possession of basic knowledge.

Hosted by ProjectArt, a Harlem-based organization that uses local libraries to provide free art classes to underserved populations, a recent exhibition aptly titled, My Kid Could Do That explored the dichotomy between the theories of innatism and tabula rasa in relation to artistic ability by showcasing the early art works of famed contemporary artists like Laurie Simmons and Rirkrit Tiravanija.

The exhibition questioned whether individuals are destined to become successful artists based on innate talent or artistic ability is learned and developed over time. Was van Gogh born with a paintbrush in hand, or did his talent evolve thanks to situational circumstance? Scrolling through works by successful artists when they were ages 5-17, it is all but impossible not to think, “I could have done that when I was that age,” which is exactly the sentiment the exhibition aimed to evoke.

Of course there are exceptions – the Einsteins and Hemingways of the world, who make most of us feel like we could never match their level of ingenuity or talent. However, most professionals in any field will attest that skills and successes are owed in majority to a tremendous amount of work and countless hours of practice. My Kid Could Do That was an uplifting reminder that we must encourage expression and foster the creative potential in every child in order to develop the visionaries of tomorrow. See photos from the exhibition on HuffPost.