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News from the Hoffmann Foundation Autism charity London - Hoffmann Foundation

HFFA Art Exhibition Review

Written on 21st May 2012 by Hoffmann Staff

There is always a sense of privilege, and indeed, excitement to be had from being asked to look at the creative works of people who have spent all or a part of their lives under some disability or other. I was therefore, delighted to be invited to view and judge a recent exhibition of paintings by artists who are autistic.

 

Although the range and quality of work on display were commendable, a more striking aspect of the exhibition was the amount of effort that had been so plainly invested in each piece. There was little lack of artistic skill or talent here and each artist demonstrated a through grasp of the fundamentals of their craft. However, the strongest point of this exhibition was undoubtedly artistic expression and, herein lies the whole point of the exercise.

 

If the primary purpose of painting is to engage and communicate with the viewer, then this exhibition was a complete success. It must be understood that these artists don’t ‘do’ words. The land of words is an alien and frightening place to them. The words that are spoken to them are heard on a childish level and are never fully understood. When they want to speak, none of the words they can find in their confusion and anxiety to be understood can convey real meaning or feeling. So when it comes to self expression, words literally fail them and the only way they have of saying things like; ‘I’m here, this is who I am and this is what I think,’ is through their art and, my word, didn’t they say it loud and clear here.

 

Of course the sponsors of this exhibition must be congratulated on the provision of such an important means of communication to such a group of talented people. We look forward very much to the next exhibition in the series and are confident that a recognition of the significance of these events will lead to a substantial increase in the effort and resources directed towards them.

 

Reviewed by Brian O'Brennan

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