The 5th Annual Art Exhibition by Autistic Children opened at Beijing's Inside-out Art Museum on April 2. The exhibition, sponsored by the Beijing Cultural Development Foundation, Inside-out Art Museum and Beijing Association for Rehabilitation of Autistic Children (BARAC), has been influential in encouraging more people to care for autistic children, and help them to lead more independent and productive lives.
Paintings by 14-year-old Li Baicheng from Beijing [Photo by Zhang Junmian/China.org.cn]
Discussing the hidden inner world of autism, the famous children's author, born in 1955, and whose works have sold more than 100 million copies, said: "One of the bitterest things in the world is that we may fail to recognize the potential talents of our beloved family members [who are struggling for fear of being abandoned by us]."
China's "Fairy Tale King" and child educationalist Zheng Yuanjie calls on families and the public to understand, care for, protect, encourage, and inspire children affected with autism at the opening ceremony of the 5th Annual Art Exhibition by Autistic Children at the Inside-out Art Museum in Beijing on April 2. [Photo by Zhang Junmian/China.org.cn]
"Imagination and concentration are the two major elements which lead to a person's success," said Zheng. "Those who are lacking in deductive reasoning and logic tend to be especially imaginative, which plays an important role in helping them to invent something new and innovative in areas such as technology, literature, and art."
He cited one of his own fairy tales as an illustration of his belief that every life is great, and has its advantages. He also stressed the importance of learning how to protect the imagination and creativity of autistic children. "The paintings displayed here today are truly the outcome of imagination and concentration," said Zheng. "With such special gifts, these children will be able to change their own fate, gain social recognition, and even change others' fate."
According to the latest statistics, there are currently about 67 million people affected by autism worldwide, which is more than the combined number of those afflicted by AIDS, cancer and diabetes. In China alone, there are more than 10 million autism sufferers, and the number is gradually increasing. To encourage research into autism and raise public awareness of the condition, the United Nations declared Apr. 2, 2008 as the first ever World Autism Awareness Day.
The exhibition, which runs from Apr. 2 to May 6, is held to mark World Autism Awareness Day and showcases around 450 works drawn by 26 autistic children from all over China.
One notable exception is David Barth, a 13-year-old autistic boy from the Netherlands, whose spectacularly detailed drawings have won many admirers at the exhibition. 20-year-old Chen Meng from Gansu Province has also captivated visitors with his stunning depictions of the beautiful landscapes of his hometown in northwestern China.
"New York Sept.11", drawn by David Barth, a 13-year-old autistic boy from the Netherlands, is preserved by the Inside-Out Art Gallery. [Photo by Zhang Junmian/China.org.cn]
The children' s works, characterized by their unique, focused innocence which allows them to focus solely on their creations, are markedly different from those produced by other children, and professional adult artists. This is why their works are called the "Art of the Innocent".
In expressing their admiration for the artists, visitors to the exhibition commented on the need to respect the artists, as their works are a source of education and enlightenment. "It's the autistic children who give us enlightenment," commented one visitor. "They help us to realize that there's still a pure and spotless corner at the bottom of our heart. By helping them, we regain our innocence and begin to reflect on what a tolerant society should be like."
Candid Imagination- The 5th Annual Art Exhibition by Autistic Children
Duration: Apr. 2-May 6, 2012
Venue: Inside-Out Art Gallery
Address: #65 Xingshikou Rd., Haidian District, Beijing
Tel: 86-10-62720300/Fax: 86-10-62856651