The brilliant colours, textures, patterns and designs belie the fact that the artists who fashioned these canvases struggle with autism. The work of five autistic students from Sense Kaleidoscopes in Yelahanka were showcased at the Outsider Art Show in Paris from October 17 to 20.
Sense Kaleidoscopes is a unit of Ayathi Trust, an academy for those with autism and Aspergers, founded by Akshayee Shetty and Anima Nair in 2013.
Artists Rohit, Adarsh, Ayush, Kalash and Pranav who are in their teens, are testament that autism need not hold anyone back.
“With art, there are no lines to fit into, no boundaries to be defined — art allows these teenagers to express themselves in a world of unfettered shapes, colours and ideas. This is why art is so endearing with autistic individuals who use it to express themselves,” says Anima Nair.
After word of Sense Kaleidoscopes’ participation in the Outsider Art Show supported by the Kochi Biennale Foundation in February 2019 got around, people all over have come to know of this little school that is a game changer for those with autism.
The young artists are thrilled their art is making waves with the French and other art buffs from Europe. Akshayee Shetty says, “For perhaps the first time, autism has broken every notion associated with it and garnered attention on a global stage. These boys have also been invited to exhibit their works in New York in January 2020.”
The basic objective of Sense Kaleidoscopes was to provide the autistic with a means to achieve independent sustainable livelihoods through art. Rohit, one of the five artists, is very clear that he wants to fund himself with his art. “My art brings out my aspirations just as if I were a normal youngster,” says Rohit.
Pranav says art makes him happy, and when he is happy he does things that defy the constraints of autism.
Ayush depicts various mudras in his paintings and at exhibitions, he dances and demonstrates their meanings. He is light on feet despite being big built.
“This is where we differ in our approach. We work with teenagers, adolescents and young adults and train them to be independent despite their disadvantages,” Anima says.
In 2020, the artists will showcase their work at the Outsider Art Show in New York and are already at work, readying their canvases.