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Painting Series by Jean-Sebastien Choo, Self-taught Autistic Artist #9— Extinction Sanctuary

Extinction Sanctuary, 9 x 12 in, water color and poster color, canvas panel

As I study this painting with all its potential orientations, I see a puffin “conversing” with a “flying turtle” (yellow shape on the right). The title of this painting is thus inspired by the fact that animals like puffins are facing the extinction threat without a sanctuary.

I relate this reality to my endeavour for Sebastien, my autistic son, and my advocacy work for autistics. For I think of the world that we are creating for him as a sanctuary to buffer him from mainstream existence that makes life unliveable for someone like him. These days, with the support of my carers, Sebastien gets to lead a well-rounded and nurturing existence far more suited to his needs and temperament — farming, surfing, hiking, woodworking, painting, etc. This is a stark contrast to conventional approaches of autism treatment that often aim for autistics’ conformity to our norms at the expense of their well-being.

Perhaps, we should consider this: if we only focus on creating a world that suits our mainstream norms and values, without catering to others — be it people or nature, we risk losing them and the “diversity” they bring to our world.

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

Digital versions of Sebastien’s art for Patreon sponsors: (you can support his existence for as little as USD5/month!)

Thank you so much!


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