Exhibiting Children

The Young Artist as Construct and Creator

  • Victoria F. Smith University of Connecticut

Abstract

This intimate exchange between real children and the stories we tell about them is at the fore of juvenilia studies, as scholars examining texts children produce must balance attention to the young person as author or artist with a critical awareness of systems of publication, reception, and analysis that are typically managed by adults. The focus of this paper is an investigation into the challenges of researching and writing about child-produced culture amid the often-overpowering constructs of childhood that surround it, taking two young artists as case studies: Daphne Allen, and Pamela Bianco, whose work can be challenging to access in ways that arise in part from the idiosyncrasies of their cultural moment, understood here as one that combined lingering Romanticism and burgeoning modernism. Analysis of the two child artists suggests that both were savvy and self-aware in negotiating, through their art, the discourses that surrounded them; it also presents methodologies that may be useful to other scholars in the field of juvenilia studies more broadly.

Published
2018-07-04