Oct. 7, 2020, 6:55 p.m. by Dr Gayatri Mohapatra ( 495 views)
The popular perception is that creativity and old age do not mix.
(Grandma Moses,an American folk artist)
Creativity is certainly the domain of the young, yet not in the way that many of us would expect and it's certainly not exclusively determined by the youth.
Around the age of five years we start using 80 percent of our creative potential which reduces to 2 percent by the age of twelve years because we start to learn the price of living in the modern world - which is conformity.
Research by UC Berkeley psychologists suggests that creativity generally tends to decline as we age and through a series' of experiments, it was found that adults resorted to less creative thought processes than children.
he origins of creativity are complex, influenced by societal, emotional, neurological factors.
We are used to wonderkids, Mozarts and Zuckerbergs whose innovations in classical music and social media in their 20s transformed the culture.
The idea that creativity and old age are mutually exclusive is perhaps as familiar as the joke about Mozart: ''When he was your age, he was dead.''
Nevertheless, Sophocles wrote ''Oedipus in Colonus'' at the age of 89, and Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes began the study of Greek at the age of 92 because, as he said, ''When else would I have had the time to take it up?''
Although some creative minds do peak in younger years, the trajectory is often not straightforward.
What’s really interesting from the neuroscience point of view is that we are hard-wired for creativity for as long as we happily continue creating, and nothing bad happens to our brain. There is no reason whatsoever to assume that one will stop being creative just because one has gray hair.
There are numerous examples throughout history of the creative Power of the aging brain: Benjamin Franklin invented the bifocal lens at the age of 78, Thomas Hardy published a book of lyric poetry at age 85, Frank Lloyd Wright completed the design of the Guggenheim Museum in New York at and 92, and Giuseppe Verdi wrote Falstaff, perhaps his most acclaimed opera, at the age of 85 and Grandma Moses, an American folk artist who began painting in earnest at the age of 78 and is often cited as an example of an individual who successfully began a career in the arts at an advanced age.
Age really is just a number, especially when it comes to embracing your creativity.
We come across people who look old at forty, or young at sixty. The reason isn’t the number of little wrinkles that may be sprouting, but in the way they use their bodies. 'Old' people have lost their flexibility and it slows them mentally.
Muhamed Ali said "Age is whatever you think it is You are as old as you think you are." Proving him right is the story of Agnes kasporava, a ninety plus Year-old resident of Louka, Czech Republic
She was a farm worker, but after retirement, started painting to make her hometown charmingly pretty. She spent her retired life by adorning windows and door frames with ornamental blue flower designs.
The practice of applying flower motifs on the facades of old buildings is present in other places around Europe.
The tradition, albeit with more varied colors, extends throughout Russia and Poland as in the quaint village of Zalipe, boasting of homes which are vibrating with color from the many painted flowers upon all their walls. The whole village is painted starting from the dog cages, old fountains, not to mention fences and interiors.
Zalipie’s most celebrated artist was Felicja Curyłowa who died in 1974 leaving behind a legacy of art and beauty.
Agnes kasporova's village is in the South Moravian region of the Czech Republic and she learnt the art from another lady Manakova. In Moravia, this type of art is traditional, so it also seeks to preserve this detailed work. The spry grandmother turned artist’s activity, shows us that time can be spent productively and dedicated to the beautiful things at any stage of life. She said she is an artist and felt happy painting and decorating the world around her.
Her passion was evident in the intricate patterns she left behind! She died in March 2018, leaving behind a legacy of street art. She never planned her designs; she let her mood and mindset guide her brush in the moment.
The patterns are based on Moravian folk designs which focus on hearts, leaves, flowers, and vines in stunning vivid blue colors and painting these large scale patterns in one’s home or church or barn is not considered unusual at all, maybe just a bit old fashioned!
Legend has it that the villagers started painting flowers in their homes, many years ago to cover up smudges of soot and smoke from their wood-burning stoves with the colors inspired by nature
The local women began brightening up their cottages with painted flowers in the 19th century, and Agnes kasporava just ensured that the tradition lives on.
When we look at these examples of the creative mind, we can safely say that creativity is actually ageless! The key question is that of innate psychological ability versus social expectations
Often the decline in creativity comes about because older people's underlying capabilities are not being challenged and they're in unhappy and boring situations that does not give them any scope to unleash their creativity.
The human mind is magical and creativity needs to be pushed and stretched, sometimes beyond the comfort zone to yield miracles. The only way is to invigorate the passion for learning as one goes on living and then it will happily be the "creative adult as a child survived"!
As Eleanor Roosevelt said "Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art"!