World Autism Day: Foundation opens exhibition for children in Lagos

World Autism Day: Foundation opens exhibition for children in Lagos
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By Fabian Ekeruche

Puresouls Learning Foundation, in partnership with Terra Kulture, Lagos, on Sunday commenced a week-long art exhibition to commemorate World Autism Day 2023.

A statement issued on Sunday by Dotun Akande, Founder of the Puresouls Learning Foundation and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos, said that the exhibition scheduled to hold between April 2 and April 8 has as its theme “Embracing Art Through the Lens of the Differently Abled”.

According to him, the exhibition, which is the third of the foundation’s annual Autism Day, is to demonstrate that children on the autism spectrum have unique abilities that should be celebrated.

Akande said the exhibition would feature works by children living on the autism spectrum and those with other related developmental disorders.

“Some of the young artists whose works would be featured include Zizah Okeugo, Christine Mike-Nnaji, Daniel Ayomikun Okolie, Oluwadamiloju Yomi-Adeyemi, Preye Azazi, Funom Oti Wenyang and Chijindu Chukwunomnso Ijomah, ” Akande said.

He said that the theme of this year’s event emphasises the importance of creative activities in supporting the mental development of children living with autism spectrum disorders.

He also noted that it would showcase talented young artists who have overcome societal barriers and stigmatisation to express their creativity through their art.

“At Puresouls, we have grown to appreciate the challenges, authenticity and individuality of children living with autism spectrum disorders and their ties to creativity.

“Having found that art therapy can help stabilise emergency care, develop skills, and keep an optimistic psyche, we are focused on using this to aid the development of their self-esteem, self-awareness, and mental control.

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“The exhibition will feature an array of inspiring artworks, ranging from paintings to drawings, showcasing the unique perspectives of these young artists.

“The exhibition is open to the public, and everyone is encouraged to attend and show their support for these young artists.

“Visitors will have the opportunity to purchase some of the artworks on display, and the proceeds will support children on the autism spectrum,” Akande said.

He noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) expected everyone, including those with autism, to have the best physical and emotional wellness they could achieve.

Akande regretted that those on the autism spectrum were frequently subjected to stigma and discrimination, including unfair denial of health care, education, and chances to interact and contribute to their communities.

The statement quoted Mrs Esther Okeugo, a parent of one of the participating artists, as saying that “every child, regardless of their abilities or limitations, had a unique talent that can be nurtured and celebrated”.

“The exhibition provides a platform for children living with autism to showcase their artistic talents and remind us that developmental challenges do not define them.

“As a parent of one of the featured artists, I am proud to be a part of this event that celebrates the creativity and resilience of our children and encourages society to embrace inclusivity and diversity,” Okeugo said (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Emmanuel Afonne/Vivian Ihechu

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