Medium and message: The Hoffman Foundation for Autism

The Hoffman Foundation for Autism used art created by its beneficiaries to raise awareness of the condition.

Earlier this month, Lauderdale House arts and education centre in north London hosted an exhibition featuring works created by a group of autistic artists. The artists were tenants of the Hoffman Foundation for Autism, which organised the exhibition to make people more aware of the disorder.

Ian Wilson runs an art workshop for autistic adults at a Hoffman Foundation day centre in London. He says: "The students' unique perception gives their drawings and paintings a marked visual edge. There are correlations that can be linked to their impairments: repetition, a narrow range of subject matter and so on." Wilson says art can help elucidate "the working of the autistic mind".

The exhibition at Lauderdale House featured five established artists who have sold pieces and exhibited elsewhere in the past. They included 18-year-old Harry Horne-Roberts. Working from memory, Horne-Roberts draws nature scenes, dinosaurs and cartoon characters. Many of his pieces are created on computers.

The Hoffman Foundation has been exhibiting its tenants' art since 1994, and Wilson estimates that about 30 exhibitions have featured artists from his workshops. He hopes there will be a permanent show featuring work from his classes in the near future. He says: "Putting on exhibitions is well worth it: it brings out the best in people. I'm usually glowing by the end."

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