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  • Irene Mariano

5 Reasons to Visit Design.Art.Autism.

Art lovers and industrial design enthusiasts are invited to check out the exhibit Design.Art.Autism., from June 16 to July 29, at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde’s (DLS-CSB) Center for Campus Art (CCA). Art lovers and industrial design enthusiasts are invited to check out the exhibit Design.Art.Autism., from June 16 to July 29, at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde’s (DLS-CSB) Center for Campus Art (CCA).

The exhibit features the works of the artists Vico Cham, Chico Joaquin, Jorel Alegre, Julyan Harrison, Samantha Kaspar, Karl Oliveros, Daniel Sanchez, and Muneer Pena. The featured artists are Persons with Autism (PWAs) who have been blessed with artistic talents.

Aside from the chance to see excellent artwork, here are five reasons why you should visit this exhibit:

1. Sometimes autism comes with the gift of art. When parents suspect there is something different about their child, the word ‘autism’ comes to mind. After the initial denial, parents often realize and accept that their child may be different, but can still be productive in their own unique and special ways.

Studies have shown that some persons with autism have different skills, which can be developed and enhanced with the proper guidance and support. For Vico, Chico, Jorel, Julyan. Sam, Karl, Daniel and Muneer, their skills lie in art. Each artist was allocated a uniquely designed space where their art was displayed. Their artwork was also used as inspiration for the CCA students’ industrial design pieces.

2. Art can be sustainable. These PWAs use their art to express their thoughts, emotions, and expressions. With the full support of their family members, they are able to use their skills produce different kinds of output, which others can appreciate. Through this exhibit, these PWAs can go beyond making using art for self-expression, and find opportunities for their art to earn income. For example, among Daniel’s paintings, one of the pieces displayed was a replica, since the original piece had already been sold to an art collector. Many of Vico’s artworks have served as inspirations for jewelry pieces.

The exhibit was made possible with encouragement from parents, together with a network of relatives and friends willing to lend support and logistics.

3. Get to know Project Inclusion. Project Inclusion is a program of the Unilab Foundation (ULF). The program helps Persons with Disability (PWDs) enter the workforce, so they can be independent and self-sufficient in the future. Project Inclusion works on enabling employment for persons with all sorts of disability, from autism to Down syndrome to various forms of physical disability.

In addition to being a talented artist, Vico is also currently employed at Unilab Foundation as an administrative assistant in graphic design. He is the first person who was employed under Project Inclusion, proving that PWDs can be included in the mainstream workforce if given the chance and encouragement.

Project Inclusion has placed PWDs in employment with many different companies, such as SouthStar Drug and Abenson. Some of the artists in this exhibit are managed by Vico’s Artism Gallery, one of ULF’s partners.

4. Support the DLS-CSB Center for Inclusive Education. DLS-CSB believes in inclusive education. The Center for Inclusive Education is a service unit aimed at developing a culture of inclusion through the creation and management of programs for PWDs, people with special education needs, and indigenous people. The center directly supports the DLS-CSB vision and mission on leadership, supervision and monitoring of institutional initiatives and efforts toward inclusive education.

5. Support the DLS-CSB Center for Campus Art. Students from the BS Architecture, BS Industrial Design, AB Fashion Design and Merchandising programs participated in the exhibit. They took inspiration from the artwork to create new art pieces. The students’ art pieces ranged from bags, clothes and furniture to jewelry and electric bikes. Their individual designs were displayed to complement the works of the featured artists.

Visit the exhibit and spread the word on social media with the hashtags #BenildeCampusArt and #DAABenilde.

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