On World Autism Day, special children showcase their artworks

‘Sunflowers’ by Madhav Krishnan  

Twenty neuro-diverse children are showcasing their artworks at an exhibition in Chennai that opened on April 2, marking World Autism Awareness Day.

The special artists are students of A Brush With Art (ABWA), a programme for the neuro-diverse.

Launched in 2016 in Besant Nagar, the programme since then has a permanent studio at the Cholamandal Artists Village on East Coast Road. ABWA has been associated with that campus over these years, except of course for the last one year when the pandemic forced it on to a virtual platform.

‘Branching Out’ by Kevin George

‘Branching Out’ by Kevin George  

The students face various challenges — non-verbal, autistic, hyperactive, dyslexic — and their prowess as artists signals a victory over the factors limiting them.

ABWA started Madhav Krishnan on his journey of explorations through the medium of art. The classes did not teach in the conventional way of drawing forms but offered the child a choice of material and then allowed him the freedom to experiment and explore.

“Over the years, from complete free abstract expressions he has now moved to a more structured programme. I find that the experiences that bring Madhav joy often find themselves reflected as motifs in his art. He loves drinking tea and many of his paintings have teapots and cups. Hotels, surfboards, favourite people have all often crept into his paintings,” says Madhuca, Madhav’s mother.

‘Bright Side of Autumn’ by Pavitra Anand

‘Bright Side of Autumn’ by Pavitra Anand  

The ABWA show seeks to create awareness about autism. “With awareness comes understanding and with understanding comes acceptance,” says Mala Chinnappa, an ABWA facilitator.

In 2018-19, artworks by 11 children were featured in the Outsider Art Show, during the Kochi Biennale, and annually at an exhibition at Cholamandal Artists Village.

“The encouragement received by the young artists from these platforms boosted their confidence and they have been holding such shows in the city since then,” says Mala, adding that “over the years the work has come with a greater ring of maturity.”

The artworks that can be purchased will be on display through April (between 11.30 am to 7.30 p.m) at Paati Veedu, a restaurant at Bhagirathi Ammal Street, T. Nagar.

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Printable version | Jun 12, 2021 11:39:45 PM |

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