It was a pleasant surprise when my friend Brin called me to ask if I would like to showcase my artwork at the Autism Show at Manchester Central on his stand. Without hesitation, I gladly accepted the offer. Brin and I have been in touch for a couple of years now, having connected through social media. His daughter is autistic, which inspired him to establish ‘Artism UK’ as a safe space for individuals on the autism spectrum, as well as other neurodivergents and people with mental health issues, to create and exhibit their art. 

In the months leading up to the event, Brin and I had a couple of conversations about it. I had planned to display six of my art pieces, including a deeply personal abstract self-portrait that reflects my unique style and tells a distorted part of my story. Additionally, I prepared my ‘City of Gods’ collection, ‘Hometown,’ and a couple of abstract pieces that showcase my use of resin and gold leaf. I also planned to showcase an exclusive piece I have created for the Dementia Choir, which I will be to donating for them to auction and raise funding for their charity.

However, during the week of the show, I faced some challenges. On Tuesday morning, I experienced several triggers that led to a significant meltdown. This greatly disrupted my mental state and affected my plans for the event. Feeling detached and struggling to maintain my composure, I realized attending the show would only worsen my condition. It was a difficult decision to make, considering how much I was focused on this event for months. Changing my plans had a huge impact on me.

I spoke to Brin and explained the situation, and he was very understanding and supportive. We agreed that my artwork would still be displayed on his stand, which brought me some relief. The art was taken down the afternoon before the show to be set up and ready for the event.

Initially, I had only planned to attend the show on Friday, as both days would have been too overwhelming for me. However, I believed that attending one day would have been a significant accomplishment, and I would have been proud of myself. Although the film crew making the documentary had planned to capture shots of me at the stand, unfortunately, this did not happen. Nevertheless, they still attended and filmed some great footage and conducting interviews with people about my artwork and their perspectives on my story. I am really glad they still went to document this experience, as it is an integral part of my life and how my condition impacts me.

Brin informed me that there was a lot of attention on my art and he had given my contact details to several interested individuals. It was great to have my artwork displayed alongside the works of other talented artists who also use art as a form of therapy and a life-coping mechanism, just like I do.

The Autism Show is a massive event, one of the largest of its kind in the UK, so having my artwork showcased there is a tremendous achievement for me. Although the circumstances didn’t unfold exactly as I had hoped, there are still many positive aspects to take away from this experience.

I want to thank Brin and Artism UK for the opportunity, as well as The Autism Show and Eklectics for their involvement in filming. I am also incredibly thankful to everyone who has reached out to me with kind words of support.

This experience marks another significant milestone in my artistic journey. While it may not have unfolded exactly as I had envisioned, I am determined to focus on the positives.