Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My Kid Could Paint That

There's a recently produced documentary about a four year old girl named Marla who has allegedly created works of art that have sold to collectors worldwide. The documentary raises questions about the authenticity of Marla working alone on these pieces being attributed to her. The parents' adamant insistence that Marla created these works herself appears to be a lie. Perhaps, when the parents initially started promoting their daughter and her art they believed that they had no hand in helping. But after a 60 Minutes hidden camera captured the little girl struggling to create a particular piece, and hearing sideline coaching form her father, serious doubts were raised about the authenticity of Marla completely working alone.

In one scene, Marla tries to get the attention of her father to give credit to her little brother for painting the "green one" all by himself. The "green one" is in Marla's gallery show in Los Angeles.

In yet another scene, the parents are trying to prove that Marla is indeed the sole creator of her art, with no assistance from the father, and allow the documentary film maker to videotape Marla painting something from start to finish. Marla is struggling and says to her father,
"Your turn to do it."
"You have to tell me what to do right now."
"You paint a face."
"Alright just help me dude."
"Or tell me to be done or help. What one? Pick."

The mother in the piece seems genuinely duped into believing that her daughter is the sole creator of her work. The father appears to believe whatever story will propel his daughter to fame and fortune, and everything that goes with it. He reminds me of when my own kids were two, three, four. It's as if he keeps coming up with a new facet to the story (that's not true) in order to convince himself and others that it is true. When the mother says that she wants to take a polygraph to prove that Marla is the sole creator of the art, the camera focuses of the father's face. He's clearly nervous at the possibility of trying to pass a lie detector test.

The part of the movie that's most unsettling to me is the implication that the father is grooming his daughter to be a fraud. The undercurrent is that he's teaching her to lie...small untruths that will cloud her judgement into adulthood. What the movie really is is a commentary on moral relativism, the philosophy that, it's true for me if I believe it.


rinny said...

i'd like to see that documentary. her website is kind of gimmicky.

Sarah Hazel said...

The documentary is less than an hour and a half. It's worth the time.