Perfect Parrot

“Perfect Parrot.” Were this the name of a chique new cocktail bar, it would not be surprising to find this picture, discretely but emphatically lit, centrally placed and imposing itself on the fashionable clientele. It would probably be the motif on place mats and elegant little menus. And maybe, sipping a pinacolada, a party-goer might just notice that there is in fact, no parrot; and that the exquisite colours, which without doubt bring to mind a notion of “parrot,” are perfectly balanced in form and tone. He or she might realise that the eye-comfiness is augmented by the dark marginal line serving as a frame to be both respected and encroached upon. With further reflection, he or she might conclude that the sophistication has been further amplified by child-like application of the paint whilst the forms and colour choices are far from childlike.

Perfect Parrot

But …. “Perfect Parrot” was painted by a child! Josephine is eight years old. She comes from Indonesia. She has huge brown eyes and a dazzling row of very white teeth. Her enthusiasm for anything creative is irrepressible. Her mother showed me “Perfect Parrot” painted at school. What did I think? My response might have included the word “exquisite.” But it was not a matter of what I thought. It was what I wanted to know. “Josephine, what was in your mind when you painted this? Who did you paint it for? What made you choose those colours? Why did you put the line around the edge? Why did you call it “Perfect Parrot” when I can’t see a parrot?” “Don’t know!” She laughed and skipped away. You first saw her potential at

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