Teen with autism displays artwork in solo exhibit at Toronto gallery
Published Tuesday, October 30, 2018 10:00PM EDT
A non-verbal teenager with autism is finding a new voice through his striking artwork, which is already being sold for thousands of dollars at a Toronto gallery.
Niam Jain began painting three years ago. Since then, the 15-year-old has become an emerging artist in the fields of gestural abstract art and abstract expressionism.
“He is an artist and he’s good at what he does and his artwork – and I know I’m his mom – it is beautiful,” his mother Nina Jain told CTV News. “The autism allows him to see the world differently.”
Niam’s unique style caught the eye of the associate director of the Abbozzo Gallery in downtown Toronto.
“I found him on his website and it looked to me like it was from a mid-career artist,” Marco Rosada said. “It was quite experienced.”
The gallery is currently showing an exhibition comprised entirely of Niam’s artwork and it appears to be a success. Of the 12 paintings on display, 11 of them have already been purchased for approximately $5,000 to $6,000 each.
“Niam is an artist regardless of his limitation, which I don’t even believe is a limitation,” Rosada said.
The young artist’s mother said her son has taught himself to paint by watching other artists or simply expressing himself. For example, in one painting a stark orange dot stands out against a blue-green backdrop.
“He actually ran from across the room to create that orange dot so there’s a lot of movement in that to create exactly what he wanted to show, which was that that’s him in this world and he’s different,” she explained. “He’s the orange dot in a blue world.”
The artist’s mother said the exhibition has given her son a newfound confidence and that he’s even started purchasing his own art supplies with his earnings. She said she’s hopeful he’ll be able to support himself as an adult one day thanks to his promising paintings.
Niam’s exhibit runs until Nov. 10 at the Abbozzo Gallery in downtown Toronto.
With a report by CTV News’ medical affairs specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip