Vietnam autistic boy paints his own world

Don’t put the brush into your mouth! It’s dirty! I’m reading an article about you. Now, keep on drawing. How greedy for fame you are! The other day he said: “Nem is in the paper!” Nem’s life story is not happy. Suffering autism, Nem has difficulties in expressing himself with words, gestures and acts. Now, show me your friend. You can’t go until you’re done explaining it to me. Where’s our family? Where does the arrow lead? The arrow… X-ray…white! The eye is white?! Oh, God! Nguyen Lan Phuong, Nem’s mother: It is like a need to talk. He has a need to draw what’s on his mind. His father discovered his condition. He was our first child, so we didn’t recognize the condition until 2006. Nem suffered not only autism but also Turner syndrome in males and cleft palate. Musician Quoc Trung: I followed my friend to this exhibition. I felt surprised [at his paintings]. His skill is not something he acquired from learning, but a talent born in a very individual world. I hope that painting will be a lifebuoy, a career for him. My desire is that he will have a career so he can support himself. That’s good enough. But, I’m still worried. Autistic people, including grown-ups, can change 180 degrees, meaning that from being well-behaved to rebellious, from being obedient to doing nothing. So, I fear that Nem will quit painting. Nem’s younger sister Another hope of mine is to raise the sister so that she will love her brother truly, and take care of him in the future. She will have to do that voluntarily, not see it as a sacrifice. I have to nurture that love in her. Now, translate his words. What did he say? Mommy!

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