Si (third left) in a photo-call with KAA committee members, participating artists and other representatives.
KUCHING: Autism is commonly associated with rigid thinking, restricted interests and a literal interpretation of speech and behaviour – so how could a person with these traits possibly be creative?
Find out for yourself at the Autism Art Exhibition at Hilton Hotel Kuching which runs from Oct 19 to 21, and witness the creative works by students from Kuching Autistic Association (KAA).
Open between 9am and 6pm, the exhibition will showcase what individuals with autism are capable of and dispel any negative perception of their condition.
“Our students have put in a lot of efforts to produce the artworks for the exhibition.
“Notwithstanding communication skills, their artworks are an expression of their emotions and feelings. Some even evoke stories untold,” said KAA spokesperson Sheila Si, adding that the KAA is ‘extremely grateful’ to have received support from Hilton Kuching in terms of space for the gallery – probably one of the first art galleries in Sarawak catering to artists with special needs.
The association intends to use this gallery as a venue to display, sell and promote the arts of autistic individuals.
KAA will also endeavour to raise awareness of the importance of art as a tool for learning, growing and expression.
“Furthermore, we hope to inspire NGOs (non-governmental organisations) from the special needs community and renew interest and passion through this gallery,” said Si.
KAA artist Ian Wong will be displaying his artwork at the exhibition.
This exhibition is also a fundraising event for KAA, as the association is in dire need of funds.
“The deficit in our operating budget is about RM600,000 per year. There are presently 105 students and 30 full-time staff members at the training centre.
“The training fee per student is RM350 per month, but the actual operating cost of the centre is about RM830 per child per month,” she added.
It is hoped that the public and corporate bodies would support the KAA and the artists with autism by purchasing the artworks at the exhibition.
Funds raised would allow the association to continue providing therapy to individuals with autism.
In addition to artworks produced by artists with autism, nine artists from Kuching and Miri have come forward to support this exhibition by donating their art collections to the cause.
The nine include renowned local artist Ramsay Ong, who will be displaying two of his artworks.
The Autism Art Exhibition is part of What About Kuching 2018. For a full calendar of events, visit aboutkuching.com.