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Vivid images beautifully rendered by artists with special needs

A GREEN sanctuary was recreated in the middle of the Bonifacio Global City concrete jungle to feature artwork by artists with autism. The Arte Autismo Filipino art and photo exhibit opened on June 3 at the Globe Art Gallery at Basement 1, the Globe Tower BGC.

Autism Speaks defines autism as having a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. One of the ways believed to have a positive effect in managing this condition is through art. For people diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), art is a great aid in addressing their sensory needs. Through art, they are also able to express themselves better, instead of just plain words.

In fact, art therapy has grown popular over the years, especially since it shows to be effective in engaging persons with ASD and giving them a channel for communication, and ultimately even improving their social skills.

While ASD is marked by a number of challenges, Arte Autismo Filipino chooses rather to celebrate the strengths of its featured artists, allowing them to shine.

Opening-day ribbon-cutting: Rachel Harrison (from left), Susan Afan, Keith Harrison, Nina Bantoto, Julyan Harrison, Vico Cham, Atty. Didi Javier, and Yoly Crisanto of Globe 

Rachel Harrison, an architect and social entrepreneur, is one of the staunchest advocates for persons with autism and disability.  She owns Zambawood, a luxury resort in San Narciso, Zambales, a place she and her husband initially built for their son Julyan, but has since made available for guests craving for a quiet and serene place to rest and recharge.

She has also transformed Zambawood into a haven for art. Recognizing how art helps people with special needs, she has taken on the task of organizing art classes for PWDs. “Art is therapeutic, we’re all artists instinctively. PWDs express through art what they can’t express verbally. Their perspective of how they view things around is very unique and interesting,” she stressed.  She is currently pouring energy on talking to various potential partners in this endeavor, and is set to open the Julyan Urban Garden Art Space in Guadalupe Viejo soon.

Professional photographers Ric Cortez, Dale Pagkalinawan, Rey Cardinal and Chris Lacson are also featured.

Ultimately, Rachel has a vision: “My advocacy is to unlock PWDs’ talents by providing them with skills training and eventually employment to sustain themselves productively, as well as give them fun, purpose and dignity throughout their life. By doing this, they become productive and contribute to their families and to our society,” she earnestly declared.

Harrison’s son, Julyan, was diagnosed with autism at the tender age of 2 and is now 26. His artworks are also on display at the exhibit. The works of Nina Bantoto, Vico Cham, Chico Joaquin, Samantha Kaspar and Daniel Sanchez are also featured at the event.

One of the valuable allies in this advocacy is Globe, the country’s No. 1 telecommunications company. “Children with autism are indeed special. Look at all the artwork on display! This goes to show that love and support go a long way in dealing with the disorder. Julyan and all the artists here are living examples of life’s beauty. We’re proud to host their work here at the Globe art gallery,” said Yoly Crisanto, head of Corporate Communications and chief sustainability officer of Globe.

The Arte Autismo Filipino art and photo exhibit’s major sponsors are Globe, Estate Wine, Fuji Film and supported by OLOF Plant Based food, Bravo!, Wrapsha and L’Entrecote.  It will run until June 26.

Source: The therapeutic power of art | BusinessMirror