restricted access Children’s Art Is Asylum Art
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35 Children’s Art Is Asylum Art Asylum art is never children’s art. They cut the bones down, but the line remained. —Muriel Rukeyser What is it to be in a troubled mind? After prayer hour, before nap break, between lunch and the promised going-home, the child rubs concentric circles of crayon orange on the kindergarten rug. It creates a gravitational pull, a landing zone. A heliocentricity of colored wax, it radiates. Another pigments the sketched faces of family with fluorescent inks, a spectrum of glowing kindred. She pares at their necks, whittles flesh from spines until only the backbones remain. The figures’ arms obtrude, wave long-boned hands like antennae to the universe. The glow of flesh will be as the light of God, for they are set apart. At recess, children work with a diligence of bowed heads, use mirrors to burn flags for invented nations into patchy grass. They wait for blue sparks from heaven, for emancipation, the loosening of sky, the bus home, the family dog—hallelujah and hallucination imitating one another from the eye’s corner. ...


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