Looking for the next Picasso at Israeli autism event at UN

Painting by Amir Bai.  Amir is deaf and mute and communicates through sign language.  He lives at Kfar Ofarim, ALUT's village for people with autism in Ramat HaSharon (courtesy)

Painting by Amir Bai. Amir is deaf and mute and communicates through sign language. He lives at Kfar Ofarim, ALUT’s village for people with autism in Ramat HaSharon (courtesy)

By Mark Shulman

NEW YORK – What do Mozart, Michelangelo and Picasso all have in common? They, like  the young artists whose works are on display this week in the lobby of the United Nations in New York, are all linked to autism

The Speaking Colors exhibition opened June 10 at an event attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. It features 25 paintings by Israeli children with autism.

“The artists showcased here prove through their ‘speaking colors’ that anyone can reach out and touch another person,” said Ban in his opening remarks. “People with autism and other disabilities want to participate, engage and contribute [to society].”

The exhibition coincided with the first day of a conference on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, with a special focus this year on youth with disabilities. Israel signed on to the convention in 2012.

“Behind each of the paintings you see is the story of a child who longs to express himself,” said Ron Prosor, Israeli ambassador the UN and vice chair of the UN conference.  Continue reading

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