The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Monday, May 11, 2009

Da Vinci, The Genius, exhibition, Science Centre, Singapore.

Leonardo Da Vinci is coming to Singapore. More precisely, the "Da Vinci, the Genius" exhibition is opening on the 16th May 2009 at the Science Centre. When I heard this news, I was both surprised and unsurprised. I shall explain.

I was surprised because I had suggested just such an exhibition to the Singaporean arts authorities a few years ago and got snubbed. I was unsurprised because I had suggested just such an exhibition to the Singaporean arts authorities a few years ago - and got snubbed.

The story is a curious one. Some gentlemen emailed me out the blue, with a project to build some of Leonardo Da Vinci's wonderful machines and exhibit them around the world: could I help in bringing it to Singapore, they asked me?

Now, I wondered, too, why they had asked me...but, nevertheless I did contact some people in Singapore regarding whether they would be interested in an exhibition of the work of Leonardo Da Vinci. I duly had a meeting with some arts people at the National Museum. To cut a short conversation even shorter, they said that Leonardo Da Vinci was not for them (perhaps he was just not enough of an artist, to interest representatives of Singapore's government art body?) - however, they suggested that I should try the Singapore Science Centre. Ah. Clearly, they thought Leonardo Da Vinci more of a scientist, than an artist, and did not want him in the Art Museum, as I had proposed.

There was a problem in their suggestion. I was already in contact with the Science Centre regarding my son, Ainan. In fact, the person I was supposedly in contact with was in charge of events - so I presume, he would, in fact, have been just the right person to contact regarding Leonardo Da Vinci. That, however, was the problem. You see, he already wasn't replying to my emails and phone calls, regarding the matter of my son. I had held a meeting with him and some of his colleagues and many big promises were made and hopes raised. Yet, when I wrote to realize some of those hopes, my mails were just ignored. I wrote quite a few times and called quite a few times - but only ever got silence.

Thus, I had a difficulty with the suggestion that I should contact the Science Centre, since the very man who would be responsible for setting up a Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition there, had I brought it to him, is the very man who was busily ignoring my attempts at contact. Therefore, I did what I thought most appropriate: I did nothing further to raise the issue of a Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition in Singapore.

Surprise, surprise...several years later, they have brought in just such an exhibition. I am left to wonder whether the people at the National Museum queried the Science Centre people about whether I had contacted them...and then set the whole thing in motion themselves.

Anyway, it is good that a Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition is finally coming to Singapore - even if only readers of this blog will know that I made just such a proposal to the arts authorities several years ago. It is possible that that proposal is what has led to this exhibition, however dilatorily. I suppose I will never know...

Nevertheless, I shall make a point of attending the exhibition when it opens. It is pleasing to think that people still care about the thinking of a man who lived 500 years ago. All hope is not lost in Man, when some still appreciate those who have been creative, in the past.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 9:09 PM 


Anonymous LR said...

I am also looking forward to this exhibition! Disappointingly, we could not find out more about this exhibition on SC's website. Eventually, we could only piece together info gathered from various news websites. :(

7:12 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

It should prove a worthwhile exhibition since I believe Da Vinci to be one of history's most interesting minds.

8:30 PM  
Anonymous mack said...

It might be the seed that Mr Cawley planted in that someone's mind years ago which has flowered. Otherwise, they would probably got this idea from the movie "The Da Vinci Code".

Just for a record, A Da Vinci exhibition was held in the Singapore Art Museum (former St Joseph's Institution at Bras Basah Road) somewhere in the late 90s. I guess you guys missed it ;)

Anyway, hope the exhibition thrills you as much.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Priscilla said...

I am so thrilled that there's going to be such exhibition right here in Singapore! Like you said, "It is pleasing to think that people still care about the thinking of a man who lived 500 years ago". I would totally agree.

But I'm afraid such exhibitions would cost a bomb to attend, no? Do you have any idea how much it would cost?

4:00 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I think it is 16 dollars per head for adults. I don't know how much it is for children. I hope that helps.

Kind regards

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My family and I visited the one which came in the 1990s, that's 15 years ago. Best exhibition ever. It was made such an impact in my life that I could not stop talking about it for 15 years and long for its return. Lo and behold, it's back! Rejoice! Such opportunities occur only 2 or 3 times in one's lifetime. The exhibition bridged the present and past in such a real and fantastic way. The works of Da Vinci were simply brilliantand and awesome! Hope all schools here make it a compulsory excursion for their students. We never know how it will raise the bars of creativity and the thirst for learning from within in our students few notches up. Soak in all that's offered in the exbihition and it is well worth hundred times more that the entrance fees! Thank you so much for bringing it back. What a favour you did for us.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

You certainly make it sound a worthwhile experience. Thanks for your comment.

11:42 AM  

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