Gee: woman, mother, partner, artist, writer, public speaker, #Autistic. I am.

GeeVero

Autism Unveiled Project Week 3

“We will have true inclusion the moment we are able to accept another person for who they are even if they are completely different from us.” Gee Vero

GeeVero

Who am I?
I am Gee Vero.
I am a woman.
I am a mother.
I am a partner.
I am an artist.
I am a writer.
I am a public speaker.
I am autistic.
I am.

The Art of Inclusion

Hello, I am from Germany. I grew up in what was formerly East Germany and left my small hometown for London after the Berlin Wall came down. I got my diagnosis late in life which was both a shock and relief. After all I was not a loser but autistic. My 10 year old son Elijah is also autistic. He is what society likes to describe as severely autistic whereas they view me as high-functioning. Yet our autism is not that different but how we deal with it and how we react to our autism is what makes us different.

Autism is a different perception of the world. In Germany there is still only little autism awareness. That was and is something I want to change. This is why I came up with The Art of Inclusion, an art project to do just that- raise autism awareness and make society aware of the needs of autistic people. I believe that with more tolerance and acceptance by society autistic people can lead really good and worthwhile lives.

I started my project in 2010 and had the first exhibition on April 2 – World Autism Awareness Day. I want to show that inclusion is not an illusion. I am inviting people from all walks of life to “meet” me on a piece of paper. A safe way for both parties. I draw a half face, Bareface (my artist name) and ask the people to complete the picture any way they want.

Gee Vero received over 250 submissions of people who completed this image "Bareface"

Gee Vero received over 250 submissions of people who completed this image “Bareface”

They can draw, paint, write, do collage or just sign the picture. So far over 100 people have taken part. The German chancellor Angela Merkel, actor Sir Ben Kingsley, autism experts Temple Grandin and Donna Williams to name but a few of the VIPs. Wonderful pictures came from artists such as German Silke Heyer, Canadian April Griffin and Rosemary Stephens from London. People with disabilities have drawn, pupils and even my son Elijah has done a picture with FC. “It always seems impossible until it’s done,” Mandela once said. This has become my motto. So let’s do it.

The wonderful thing about art is it allows us to do what is not yet possible in real life. Life is one big carnival and the most important thing for people are their masks. Without a mask you are an outsider at every carnival. My Bareface is an invitiation to take down that mask and show your self just like I as an autistic person have to do. This gives us the change to truly encounter one another. I want people to realize that we are all different, that is what we have in common. Our differences should connect us, not divide us. And there are many things that we have in common. Let’s find and celebrate them. Where better than in the world of art?

The Art of Inclusion pictures are all very different but they also have a lot in common…they all show the willingness for understanding and acceptance of autism. This is what autistic people need most of all. We will have true inclusion the moment we are able to accept another person for who they are even if they are completely different from us. I do hope that The Art of Inclusion reaches as many people as possible.

inclusion project

I show the pictures whenever I can. Last year I had five exhibitions. This year there will be four shows of The Art of Inclusion. You can see all the pictures on www.bareface.jimdo.com. Go on, have a look. If you like what you see and want to be part of The Art of Inclusion then go to www.cloud-burst.tv , download the image and have a go yourself.

I look forward to your picture.

With kind regards from Germany,

Gee Vero

Gee is part of the six-week Autism Unveiled Project ending on April 2, 2015, World Autism Awareness Day.

4 Comments

  • Lovely, Lovely – your first sentence says it all. And as a mother on the spectrum with a son on the spectrum I ask, WHY is this so hard for some?
    Thank you for this post and for your work <3

  • Sean says:

    “Life is one big carnival and the most important thing for people are their masks. Without a mask you are an outsider at every carnival.” We think our masks, our longing to fit in, brings us closer. But in reality this longing can interfere with our relationships. We must all accept our differences and that no one of us is perfect. For me, your project demonstrates the idea that we are never complete without each other. You fill in where I leave off, and vice versa. Beautifully spoken, Gee.

  • Jessie Male says:

    “The Art of Inclusion pictures are all very different but they also have a lot in common…they all show the willingness for understanding and acceptance of autism. This is what autistic people need most of all.”

    I appreciate this sentiment. So often in the United States we are bombarded with the idea that autism must be “cured” or “fixed” and that people with autism will be outsiders unable to fit in with “typical” people. You are providing the world (truly! the world!) an opportunity to identify shared experiences and feelings. This is necessary to eliminate the stigma people with autism often face.

  • Chad Iwertz says:

    Love, love, love this project! Thank you for sharing it with an English-speaking audience in this setting, Gee. I spent some time yesterday looking over your site for sharing a canvas with Bareface, and I just wanted to share one of what I felt was the most powerful statements you make on that page: “The Bareface image is the ideal candidate to replace the outdated “puzzle piece” emblem of advocacy. Autism is no longer a terrible mystery. We have knowledge that can help make life better for individuals and families right now. ‘Share my canvas’ – What a wonderful, intelligent and disarming request to make of a stranger. Should we continue to use a puzzle piece as the symbol of advocacy when what is really needed is a symbol of collaboration and sharing?” Thank you for this, and I look forward to seeing your work more in the future!

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