Watercolours splashed with bright colours filled the Forum Art Gallery on Tuesday.

Some were finger-painted, and some had been done with crumpled pieces of paper, but all 39 paintings belonged to 16-year-old Rupak Munje, whose first exhibition it was.

Rupak, who is autistic, had painted the canvasses over a period of six months. The exhibition on Tuesday, while marking World Autism Awareness Day, was also a fulfilment of Rupak’s dream.

One painting that stood out was called ‘Art Aliens’, said Rajendra Munje, Rupak’s father. “Someday, I want him to be an artist who is on par with other great artists. This is what I want him to be known for,” said Mr. Munje, who said he spent most of his free hours helping and mentoring his son in painting.

According to Shalini Biswajit, director of the art gallery, “Rupak is one of the most patient and sincere children we have seen. He has come a long way since he started painting two years ago.”

The art gallery, established in 1996, has always taken a special interest in helping children with autism, Ms. Biswajit said. Every Saturday, autistic children are encouraged to visit the gallery and paint there, she said, adding that they believed the creative process was good for the children.

Mr. Munje, who also runs a blog on such art, said he was overjoyed when, on the day he put his son’s painting online, he got 5,000 hits on his blog. “The response and support I got from the UK, Kuwait and India has been immense,” he said, adding that he wanted to spread more awareness about autism through his blog and through such exhibitions.

More In: Chennai | News