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Painting Series by Jean-Sebastien Choo, Self-taught Autistic Artist #16— Dream Impossible

(Dream Impossible, 12 x 9 in, water color and poster color, canvas panel, SGD140 + shipping)

The title for this painting, “Dream Impossible” (with its flight of an imaginary dragon), is inspired by a dream of a future that I had for Sebastien back in 2012. Those who have been catching the serialisation of my book, Where Does My Autistic Son Belong, will know that the seeds of Sebastien’s current life in Bali were first planted during our wonderful island holiday back then.

Peucang Island, Indonesia, 2012

Sebastien lost in nature in one of the many rock pools near Peucang Island, April 2012

This is where we first got to witness the extent of the impact of full immersion in the absolute quiet of nature can have on Sebastien’s being. Further encouraged by the kindness of the guides who took Sebastien’s difference in stride, I would spend the rest of the holiday, fantasising about Sebastien leading an idyllic existence with a local community, engaged in nature-oriented preoccupations.

A day later, when it was time to return to Singapore, Sebastien shed copious tears quietly, as he was colouring. It wasn’t a meltdown. He was grieving. I wished that I could have made the fantasy a reality there and then. But it had seemed impossible…


Fast forward eight years later... and Sebastien has been living a pretty good version of this dream for the last three years.

Sebastien celebrating his 24th birthday with Bema, one of his carers, and Bema's family (June 2020)

Looking back, it hadn't been easy. Knowing what I know now, I wonder whether I would have gone through with it, had I known it was going to be that hard. We were grieving badly: Sebastien wasn’t doing well and I was falling apart. For at least 18 months, Jerome and I weren’t sure we had made the right decision.

This is why we are so grateful, every single day, for the fact that this “impossible” dream has come true through a combination of our willingness to take a leap of faith, a big dose of luck with finding a good team of carers, and Sebastien’s grit. This is something that I really want to acknowledge because hard as the journey had been for us, Sebastien had had to go through the entire transition process largely on his own, because we don't speak his special language… We need to continue to acknowledge how amazingly strong our autistic loved ones, especially those who are "non-verbal", are in their spirit.

Our flight to Bali, August 2016, Sebastien gazing out from the first villa we rented, and Sebastien at a beach he loved.

For those who are interested to support Sebastien's artistic pursuits:-

Digital versions of Sebastien’s art for Patreon sponsors and epubs with insights about his artistic life: (you can support his existence for as little as USD5/month!)

Thank you so much!


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