Last Sunday, my book club for young readers here in Singapore [GatheringReaders] had a lovely time with renowned art guru Susanna Goho Quek at the Jurong West Public Library for our session on Meet a Book Artist.
There were eleven kids who attended this Sunday hour-long session, and I knew from the start that the children are in for a rare treat. At seventy years old, Aunty Susanna is the quintessential artist who simply knew how to connect with very young children – in fact, she seemed younger and vibrant than most of us combined – her energy, passion, and enthusiasm for art was infectious.
Aunty Susanna brought this canvas and a few paints and invited the children to just paint whatever colorful blob hits their fancy.
While the colorful splashes seemed to make little sense in the beginning, a true artist would be able to blend all of these isolated splotches into something unique and wondrous like this one.
Aunty Susannah then invited the children to imagine in their mind’s eye what they see in this canvas. She recognizes that this is a group of young readers, and so she encouraged the children to develop their own stories based on what they see from this painting. It turns out that this black winding streak is a pathway used by kids in this enchanted forest.
The kids are not only encouraged to share their narrative – but to act it out as well!
And so there was a lot of jumping, dancing, and laughing as the children make an attempt to weave their stories together into something beautiful – with their own artwork and dabs of paints to guide them.
Needless to say it was one of the most dynamic sessions we have had in GatheringReaders. As an art teacher in National Geographic in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Aunty Susanna is able to cast a magic spell on these young kids, getting them to see things where none existed and inspiring them to expand their minds and filling it with infinite possibilities – through words and paints.
Aunty Susanna is also the author of the book God is Hu which she launched during the Asian Festival of Children’s Content in 2010.
Aunty Susanna reading from her book God is Hu to the kids.
** Many thanks to Kenneth Quek for taking these lovely photographs and to Aunty Susanna for patiently sending the pictures to me. **