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Creative paintings by artists with autism inspire functional objects

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The paintings of artists with autism, namely, Jorel Alegre, Vico Cham, Julyan Harrison, Chico Joaquin, Samantha Kaspar, Karl Oliveros, Muneer Pena, and Daniel Sanchez, will be featured in “Design, Art, Autism,” a collaborative presentation produced by Unilab Foundation (ULF) and De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB).

The show aims to discuss the practice of art therapy, and the role it plays in their development. All of these are geared toward fostering awareness, understanding, and acceptance of people with autism.

  • Mark Gavino for Samantha Kaspar

  • Kim Davies for Chico Joaquin

  • Justin Garcia for Karl Oliveros

  • Jemya Ducat and Hannah Mabagos for Daniel Sanchez

  • Teresa Sumaylo for Vico Cham


As a response, the students of Benilde’s Fashion Design and Merchandising, Industrial Design, and Architecture programs will explore the patterns, colors, shapes, forms, and symbols from the pieces to create furniture and decorative objects, garments and jewelry, footwear and bags, grills and lighting fixtures, and even toys.

Center for Campus Art (CCA) director, Architect Gerry Torres, said the exhibit would introduce the artists to the design world, as well as exposure to its community to new possibilities in the realm of merchandise.

“A part of the show will be dedicated to organizations that work with Persons with Disability (PWD),” he added. “These initiatives have enabled their employment, and have made higher education more accessible. Individuals like their art coaches, teachers, siblings, and most especially their parents, who play vital roles in the development of the artists, will be highlighted.”

“Design, Art, Autism” opens this Thursday. It will be on display from Friday, June 16, to Saturday, July 29 at the SDA Gallery, 12th Floor of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) School of Design and Arts, located at 950 Pablo Ocampo Street, Malate, Manila.

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