Art therapy in the chaotic and challenging world of Autism
Sid has always liked to draw and colour on paper, books and magnetic doodle board ever since he was in nursery but his interest in painting started about 4-5 years ago. This interest has flourished and grown from strength to strength at Project Art Works over the last year, where he makes big, bold, vibrant and beautiful pieces of work that we never realised he was capable of.
This is highly therapeutic for Sid in his otherwise chaotic and challenging world of Autism. Sid struggles and faces numerous difficulties everyday with daily living, self-care and behaviours that challenge.
Project Art Works (PAW) is the UK’s leading artist led organisation working with people with profound intellectual impairment and complex needs.
Project Art Works in Hastings provided Sid with a bespoke safe art space and in April this year Sid held his first solo art exhibition at the Phoenix gallery in Brighton. When we visited the exhibition, it was sheer joy! Calm and happiness for Sid and all of us that were around him. It was the most awesome beautiful experience that will remain etched in my memory for a long time to come!
He walked round all the rooms and paintings feeling them and touching them for about 45 minutes. Sid was touching the paintings just as he touches our face with a lot of feeling, emotions and love! That speaks volumes about Sid’s love and passion for art.
His art work as you can see truly reflects himself; bold, beautiful, colourful and unpredictable. Art has allowed Sid to express himself and has provided a space for him to escape into.
In one particular piece by Sid, which is my personal favourite and more importantly one of the most touching moments of my life, he wrote "Siddharth love mummy" all over the painting. It was the first time ever that he has conveyed that message to me in words and using art as a medium.
Sid is blissfully and totally unaware of any of his achievements/talent due to his severe Autism and learning difficulty. Sid lives in the here and now, nothing that happens before and after his painting means anything to him, though he loved seeing his artwork up at his first solo recent exhibition in Brighton! It wasn't a commercial venture but we only just shared Sid’s passion and beautiful work and our joy with the world. Sid has proven that young people with Autism, learning difficulties and challenging behaviours can be creative and need to have access to and be given the right opportunities in life.
The message I would like to share with the world is that there needs to be equal opportunities for young people with challenging behaviours, Autism, Learning Difficulties or mental health issues and not be isolated and marginalised. Every town and city needs a Project Art Works.
Has art and creativity helped you with your disability? We would love to hear what you think about Sid’s amazing art and also share your experiences of art as a therapy too!