The Autistic Expression exhibition coming soon to Estuary Arts Centre in Ōrewa will be like no other, according to event coordinator Tamara Grant of Xabilities.
Artworks will include animation, video, Lego sculpture and various art forms. What they all have in common, Tamara says, is “expression from the heart” by autistic artists.
The event celebrates anything that is on the very large autistic spectrum, and Tamara says that includes the way it is put together. “We are going with the flow, and winging it, because that’s what you have to do with autism,” she says.
Tamara, 22, who is autistic, lives in Ōrewa and started a social enterprise called Xabilities three years ago.
Xabilities works with charities on programmes and activities around NZ, which raise awareness of people with autism, their needs and aspirations, their right to equal access and to be heard and understood.
Proceeds from the exhibition go towards this work.
This is the first time the organisation has put together a show on such a large scale, working with Estuary Arts Centre manager Kim Boyd.
It had to be scaled down from the original plan because of the Covid-19 Red light restrictons, but will still take over the entire gallery and Tamara promises it will have a lot going on, for everyone to enjoy.
“We want to show people what autism is – that it’s not just one thing and that every autistic person is different.”
Her bigger picture plan is to make Ōrewa into “the world’s first autistic-friendly suburb”, which she says will require getting businesses on board to make sure everyone feels safe and comfortable – something she calls ‘universal design’.
The show is on at Estuary Arts Centre, Western Reserve, Ōrewa, from April 4–May 1, timed to be close to World Autism Acceptance Week.