Children's Appreciation of Different Artistic Genres: Representational, Non-representational, and Abstract
Making art and appreciating art are essential human behaviours. As the idiom goes, “beauty lies in the eye of the beholder” we find diverse opinions about art and differences in the experiences elicited through art by individuals. When one perceives art, the close association between sensory and perceptual processing results in aesthetic emotions and aesthetic judgement and helps him/her build meaning. Children’s appreciation of artworks can be categorised into the perceptual level, contextual level and analytical level of appreciation. The objective of the present study is to explore children’s levels of art appreciation. The study is conducted on 60 grade IX children (equal number of boys and girls) in the age group of 13-15 years with no arts education background. They are from rural and urban backgrounds located near Hyderabad in the state of Telangana. Children’s appreciation of artworks is elicited by showing them artworks belonging to three artistic genres: representational, semi-representational and abstract artworks. The results of gender-wise analysis of children’s appreciation according to three levels of appreciation indicate that boys and girls show a statistically significant difference only at the perceptual level of appreciation among representational artworks. For semi-representational artworks, boys and girls display a statistically significant difference at the contextual level of appreciation. On the other hand, in relation to abstract artworks, boys and girls display statistically significant differences in appreciation at perceptual, contextual, and analytical levels of appreciation. The research findings are a clear indication that teachers should encourage children to engage with, reflect upon and value their experiences with artworks and their beauty.