Have A Heart is a parents' support group which provides a space for special needs artists to create artworks such as paintings, sculptures, photography and prints. We were greeted by Pn Wairah Marzuki who gave us a brief insight into the work of autistic children. This was the 4th time the organisation participated in this huge event. It certainly is invaluable exposure to networking with national, regional and international artists.
We bought the Red Rooster and the Green Parrot by Sea Ng Jun Xi who is known as SEAN. My daughter calls it the Spanish Rooster ! I like the cheery, confident stride of the rooster. Now as we have breakfast in the kitchen, no one can be moody !! The rooster will gently remind us to perk up and smile for it is sunny world. 'Look on the birght side! ' he crows!
The volunteer who delivered the paintings after the Expo told me that Sean is 13 and is struggling to talk just like his sister, Tynia who is also an autistic artist. Sean has a passion for all kinds of birds and he enjoys his painting lessons more if he paints birds. Besides drum lessons, he enjoys the therapeutic healing of clay as he indulges in pottery.
Red Rooster by Sea Ng Jun Xi
Green Parrot by Sea Ng Jun Xi
Incidentally, I bought a print titled Ethnic 1 by artist Tan Seng Kit . I feel Seng Kit 's painting has the vibrancy of the 1Malaysia we want for ourselves. Though it is just a print I decided to buy it when I saw his prints at a booth his mum was manning at Klpac a year or so ago. Seng Kit was diagnosed with autism at the age of 6. He is on a home school programme and has a flair as an artist and a bowler. His print now hangs in my ' creative junk room'. This is not to say I do not care for it anymore. In fact it is in this room that I create crafts and whatever ideas for my storytelling sessions. In truth it has a special place in my heart.
Autism as we know is a brain disorder that impedes communication, learning and social behaviour. According to the Ministry of Health, 1 in 600 children is diagnosed as autistic in Malaysia.
But see how these artists with autism communicate with us in their own way. Given the chance for more exposure I'm sure more good tidings will come their way. In the meantime, they work best at what they know best!
Tan Seng Kit -Ethnic 1
Sea Ng Jun Xi - Blue Peacock Acrylic on Canvas 78x 62 cm 2010
Birds are Sea Ng Jun Xi's favourites
Art by Nurul Akmal Ab Rahman