“Drawing As a Tool for Correcting Social Ills: A Personal Perspective”

Etim Ekpenyong Mfon


A flip through our national dailies confirms the series of ethnic rivalries, religious conflicts and social confrontations that, most often than not, result in a great loss of lives and property. Despite calls from humanitarian and non-governmental organisations to sensitise the public to the need for social coexistence among classes, tribes, religious groups and sexes, the issues of domestic violence, ethnic intolerance, women enslavement, child abuse, greed, prejudice, terrorism, war, religious conflict, corruption, racism, and so forth still remain commonplace. This paper proposes that drawing can be implemented as a tool for correcting social ills. Drawing is the first ‘language’ a child ‘speaks’ in the course of trying to learn the alphabets. Given a pencil and a piece of paper, a child will draw crooked lines and uncoordinated forms and in such a manner, drawing is the first step the child takes towards reading and writing. Therefore, right from the cradle, drawing should be put to use in teaching children how to love one another in spite of racial, religious or tribal differences. Students at all levels of education, irrespective of their course of study (be it sciences, business, social sciences or the humanities), should be obliged to take drawing classes where marks would be awarded, not for draughtsmanship, but for the way in which the content of their work corresponds to themes such as peace, unity, forgiveness, tolerance at all levels, respect for life, and so forth. Furthermore, the issue of corruption should be addressed through drawing, as students are made to visualise solutions to this classical bane of our societies. Students should be taught how to draw a plan (visualise) for a healthier tomorrow. However, those who may not be able to convincingly visualise their ideas should team up with those who can, as this will further encourage teamwork. Moreover, this class should be a fun class, where the students have no fear of failing the course because their drawings are weak. Instead, they should be aware that the agape (brotherly love) contents of their drawings will determine how successful their work will be. It is hoped that this drawing class will lead to individual transformation and the development of responsible and accommodating persons.

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