To my mind autism poses arguably the most demanding challenge possible within a family. Autistic children at a minimum show an inability to make emotional connections, often cannot speak at all, in really severe cases can become violent and destructive.
All or any of which would be enough to drive the unfortunate parents and siblings to despair. But autistic kids can also become fixated on patterns and forms. Letting such a kid loose with a palette of paints would result in something like the image shown here, produced by young Colm Isherwood from Cork. Can you imagine, on top of everything else, the unfortunate parents being surrounded by such monstrosities?
Well, we know-nothings are way off the mark because apparently this is a work of genius. The er, painting has been awarded no less than a United Nations prize and will feature on a new range of stamps to be issued by that organisation. I kid you not. The rest of us must all be philistines.
In the interests of full disclosure I must reveal my own personal modern art story. Some time ago I decided to drop into an exhibition on my way home from shopping. I left the groceries just inside the door of the gallery and checked out the works. Wasn’t too impressed, I must admit. But can you imagine my surprise and delight when I returned to my groceries and found that I’d been awarded First Prize for my ‘sculpture’.
Another of my unrecognised talents………