International Journal of Art & Design Education

The 4 Dimensional Language of Infancy: The Interpersonal Basis of Art Practice

Volume 16.3   1997



Using studies made in London, England, plus recent research conducted in Singapore, this paper investigates the roots of aesthetic and design sensibilities in the symbolic play and drawing of early infancy. This study supports the theory that in an interpersonal space formed between caregiver and infant, facial expression, gesture and vocalisations of each partner are orchestrated together and are given powerful expressive and representational values. Microanalysis of video recordings shows that exploratory actions impelled by the infant are organised by patterned bursts of emotions. The rhythmic periodicities of these actions form the structure of later art-making and design, including early drawing, painting and dance. There are important pedagogical implications concerning the optimal conditions required to promote art and design understandings in childhood.