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