The Art of Autism’s 5th Annual Art & Poems for Peace Initiative 2020

Painting by Artjamila Poem by Jemima Shalful

Art & Poetry for Peace; Works of Peace-Filled Art and Poetry by Autistics and Those Who Love Us, a Four-Part Series Throughout September, with Pop-Up Extras and Video Surprises. Click here to follow our website and follow our newsletter

Click for Series 2 Series 3 Series 4 We had over 50 participants from around the globe in this project. Thanks to all who contributed.

Compiled and Curated by Keri Bowers

In memory of Ethan Gordon and all loved ones lost in 2020.

We the People, all individual peoples of this earth, have settled into uncertainty; new ways of living daily lives, which until recently were only knowable through history’s telling and Hollywood movies based on books depicting unreal realities of vivid, if not dystopian proportions.

Wherever we live on this earth, nearly every inhabited and uninhabited mass of land and water has been impacted by COvid19. The already fierce realities of privilege, disproportionate wealth, job security, health care, childcare, educations (now often from home), and disabilities adds a heavy load to our already overfull, if not challenged plates.

At the Art of Autism, our board of directors has felt Covid’s impact upon us as an organization, and as individuals reflecting our diverse, global, disabilities community. We are a small, neurodiverse group of people ~ heavily weighted towards autistics. For over a decade, we have derived immeasurable satisfaction in volunteering behind the scenes to bring you arts, visuals, videos, blogs, education, contests, and other projects such as this, our Annual #ArtofAutismPeaceProject.

Art by Keri Bowers
Art by Keri Bowers

As the curator of this peace project, I have compiled this Series from along rivers and mountain tops; in seedy motels, yurts, AirBnb’s, hostels; and in friends’ homes when they’ve welcomed me to stay; bartering a bedroom for me; custom painted walls for them. I had been traveling across America for over a year on a long, creative, spiritual and arts-filled gypsy-like road trip. I had no choice but to continue my journey when the pandemic hit. Since then, I have witnessed Covid in different parts of the country; on communities big and small, and people of all walks of life. Humbling to witness, I am filled with gratitude for this project, our artists, and creative collaborators comprising this Series.

Of Unusual Kind…

Art by Ashu Kar
Rainbow on a Rugged Landscape, Mixed Media Scratch by Ashu Kar

No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.

-Helen Keller

Of the many poetry submissions received this year, the following stream-of-consciousness poem written by kade klein ~ lower case used is preferred by kade, was chosen for its intrigue and whimsy. kade penned his piece with a bold, purposeful choice to add few elements of punctuation. The read becomes a ballet of words that sometimes make little sense while making perfectly good sense and creating an impression of sense and wonder that is the peaceful reality of Kade’s mind. May his beautiful ode to peace remind us to be kind.

written by kade klein #actuallyautistic

Angels came down in the middle of the pouring rain in a strange kind of plane they lightened the path I knew no more so I put on my shiny shoes a nice pair of glasses and a suit I found in the closet I went on the plane old friends and family hugging one another children protected forever and as we flew the plane a light began to shine put on my shiny shoes went somewhere we all await for who’d ever think I’d have what so many never knew… we flew to heaven I sat by the piano for Jesus Elvis was a little jealous here they have a river of gold and angels who are strong and bold and here I actually am playing piano for Jesus.

Art by Sanjeev Nambiar
Art by Sanjeev Nambiar, India

by Angelica Tao © 7/17/2020

I think I forgot what it was like to not be like everyone else. When I was all alone, I felt like I was one with the world.

But once I stepped out and saw people laughing together- I realized that their laughter floated into the air and swirled together to form clouds that would be carried away into the clear sky. While my laughter fell to the ground. Like drips from an ice cream cone.

So, I stood for a while, until someone saw me, and she told me not to worry. Because she knew I was me and she was her.

She picked a three-leaf clover as we walked. She said I was like this clover. I looked like all of them in that huge field, but when you looked up close you can see that it’s different.

I pick a four-leaf clover and remove one of its leaves and hand it to her.

And we laughed. At the field of clovers.

Something I would have never thought was funny until now.

Art by Meltem Arikan
Be Real Art by Meltem Arikan

Meltem was recently diagnosed with autism, and shares inner reflections of her journey exploring what this means to her life in Suddenly Autistic/Aspie on her website.

by Maria Iliou © 4/24/2020

Be observing
Within Inner soul
Listening to fainting
Sounds drifts
Drifting in distance

Reoccurring pain
Depth of core
Only memories remains

Inner self hugging
Fluffy pillow
Shedding tears
Sobbing cries

Be mindful of
Grieving heart
Heart grieves
Within deep
Sorrows of despair

Shifting in gear
Breathe, meditate
Calms body soul
Practicing yoga

Receiving energy
Reciting mind work

Art by Kimberly Gerry Tucker
Make Sure They Inherit a Clean & Peaceful World by Kimberly Gerry Tucker
Art by Nikhil Saiprasad
Art by Nikhil Saiprasad, Kerila, India

Art by Nikhil who is a 19-year-old man on the spectrum. He loves nature, variance, colors, and hues. He loves music and can play songs by heart on his keyboard just listening to the song once.

Peter Tran is a nonverbal Southern California high school student who uses augmented communication to pen his lyrical, often quirky, ironic, humorous, and always wise words and works of written art. He has penned a book of poetry, “My World As a Poem.”

In Peter’s below poem, we leave his typed words as were submitted to us without editing, and just below it, an edited version.

We thank Peter for sharing his raw version with us so that our readers may enjoy his process in “stream of conscious” writing and typing, followed by edits. We think it’s great to show you that process matters; that it is a part of creation and the arts, and intrinsically a part of autism’s evolution too.

As typed By Peter Tran

Earth is green, the stars are bright.

Gazing at the sky at night.

Great gorilla, fearsome beast

Could you have a soul of peace?

In your nest of cool green leaves

Do you wonder, ponder, griebve?

Embrace your baby, nlove your wife

Reflect on all the fjungle strife?

Morning dawns, hdo you put aside

Your thought s to live within your ntribe

Clinbing, foraing, munch, munch, munch

Bananas, mangpooo by the bunch?

When you see people at the zoo,

Do youbwonder f they bknew,

How much you missed the jungle to roam,

If they would set you free back home?

The swild birds call, the orcid blooms

Better to stay hidden from your doom

Not in a zoo but by tribe and tree

You belong, fearsome and free.

By Peter Tran, revised

Earth is green, the stars are bright.

Gazing at the sky at night.

Great gorilla, fearsome beast

Could you have a soul of peace?

In your nest of cool green leaves

Do you wonder, ponder, grieve?

Embrace your baby, love your wife

Reflect on all the jungle strife?

Morning dawns, do you put aside

Your thoughts to live within your tribe

Climbing, foraging, munch, munch, munch

Bananas, mangos by the bunch?

When you see people at the zoo,

Do you wonder if they knew,

How much you missed the jungle to roam,

If they would set you free back home?

The wild birds call, the orchid blooms

Better to stay hidden from your doom

Not in a zoo but by tribe and tree

You belong, fearsome and free.


Look for Series II of the Art of Autism’s Art & Poems for Peace Project throughout September 2020, including how you can get involved with International Peace Day, September 21, 2020 with us, and other organizations including the United Nations, and other World Peace initiatives we’ll be sharing for you to access from anywhere in the world.

The United Nations’ 2020 International Peace Day Theme:
Shaping Peace Together

Celebrate the United Nations International Day of Peace by spreading compassion, kindness and hope in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stand together with the Art of Autism and the UN against attempts to use the virus to promote discrimination or hatred. Join us so that we can shape peace together.

From education to the arts, social justice to sports, health to the environment, neighborhood issues to service for others, there are many ways to participate in Peace Day! We invite you to create a public or private activity related to peace, spread the word about Peace Day and/or attend an event in your community. Learn more at:

Header Art: Art by Artjamila, Poem by her sister, Jemina Shaiful


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