Thursday, August 30, 2018

Exhibition showcases autistic youths' artwork

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Penampang: A month-long exhibition showcasing a collection of arts by 12 autistic youths is currently being held at the Sabah Animation Creative Content Centre (SAC3), here, until Sept 28.

The exhibition is made possible thanks to a joint collaboration between SAC3, the Caring and Helping Individuals Learn and Develop (C.H.I.L.D.) Sabah and the Dream Blossom by Warm Hands, a member of the People's Participation Public Diplomacy [JB emphasis] Programme supported by the Korean Foundation.

Dream Blossom by Warm Hands is a social engagement project run by a collective group of artists and curators, an initiative of Total Museum of Contemporary Art in South Korea.

They have organised a similar art project with autistic people from Junggu Rehabilitation Centre for Developmental Disability in Seoul since last year and in view of this, the team extended their hands to C.H.I.L.D Sabah to share their experience in organising an art workshop for the people with autism.

The core idea is not to focus on tutoring but rather to build strong friendship between the Korean artists and the autism youths at C.H.I.L.D Sabah.

This time around, Dream Blossom by Warm Hands has organised five Korean artists to guide autism youths, aged between 22 and 28, from C.H.I.L.D Sabah and SAC3.

The workshop activities were handpicked by the team to match the characteristics of autistic youths and designed to give them freedom and make them more comfortable to socialise and communicate.

This is in addition to giving them the freedom to express their thoughts and feelings via art while finding the balance.

Also there to guide the youths were three coaches and one intern from C.H.I.L.D Sabah.

Director of SAC3, Dr Dayang Aminah Ali, in a statement in conjunction with the opening of the exhibition here, Monday, said with all the unique activities organised in Dream Blossom, Warm Hands look forward to seeing more positive changes among the participants.

"This in addition to consequently make this as a platform to continue similar activities in the future," she added.

She pointed out that at times, to distinguish between the disabled and normal people is an impossible thing to do, as they are just different.

"Their warm and naïve smile have definitely melted our hearts, individuals with autism are often very colourful and like rainbow, they stand out," she said.

The exhibition features impressive artwork made from industrial objects such as plastics and nature debris collected from Tanjung Aru Beach and Likas Bay called 'ordinary monuments', 'accidental paintings' which is basically produced by physical act of spontaneously dribbling, splashing and smearing paint on a canvas, life-size portraits of the participants, and portraits out of food in is most natural form.

Visitors interested to make their own 'ordinary monument' out of trash can also do so for free at the exhibition centre.

The exhibition at the SAC3 Academy along Jalan Pintas Penampang is open to the public from Aug 27 to Sept 28, every Mondays to Fridays from 8.30am to 5pm. Admission is free. - Sherell Jeffrey

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