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Int'l fashion shows to feature artworks of Pinoy with autism

By Leilani S. Junio

MANILA, April 28 (PNA)–By next month, piña gowns decorated with artworks of Filipinos with autism will go international to be part of several fashion shows in the United States and Europe.

According to Solinda Bautista, Autism Hearts Philippines director, piña gowns with hand paintings of Filipinos with autism will be featured in several fashion shows lined up this year starting next month in the United States and Europe.

Bautista said that the artworks were inspired during the launching of the Fashion Arts Autism Benefit (FAAB) project held during the 8th World Autism Awareness Day Celebration at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall on April 6.

“This will be the first time that artworks of people with autism will be featured in gowns in a fashion show,” she said.

The FAAB launching was made possible in partnership with SM Cares, the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings, Inc.

She said that through the project, they were hopeful that such would open doors to people with autism, especially those who were artistically inclined.

She added that they find the launching of the FAAB project fitting during the autism awareness celebration since their theme this year is Employment: the Autism Advantage.

“We want to show the world that people with autism could have normal lives and function in society as productive members. People with the condition thrive in consistency and they pay great attention to detail and this is where they excel. Nurture their passion and they excel with proper guidance and training,” she said.

She recalled that the project started when the idea was broached by Erlinda Borromeo to US-based Filipino designer Anthony Legarda on the need to showcase paintings made by children with autism.

“We want to showcase Filipino products and Filipino ingenuity. And were are not just talking ordinary talent here but extraordinary gifts coming from very special people,” Legarda said.

With his design, the participants underwent a workshop under visual artist and piña cloth expert Anna India Legaspi to teach them the basic techniques of painting on piña cloth.

Legaspi said only after a three-hour session, the participants, namely Vico Cham, Nick Huang, Ralph Sy and Nina Bartolo, not only learned the basic of painting on piña cloth but they were already making their own rendition of the designs themselves.

“They learned so fast. We only needed one session and they were doing their own thing. It was such an amazing experience especially for me,” Legaspi said.

So far, the workshops produced several notable art pieces which would be made into several gowns by Legarda.

Three of the gowns will be featured in his fashion show in May in Los Angeles.

In June this year, all the gowns will also be featured in fashion shows to be held in San Francisco during the World Autism Awareness Day and then in New York during the United Nations Forum on Autism.

The gowns would also be shown during a World Health Conference in Geneva towards the last quarter of the year, Bautista said.

By the end of the year, the gowns will be sold at a public auction in the Philippines.

Proceeds of the sale will be used to sponsor more projects that develop the full potentials of people with autism.

Bien Mateo, program director of the SM Cares Committee on Disability Affairs, said SM Cares remained committed to providing all the support to ensure the full potentials of people with autism and those with disabilities were realized.

“We share in your advocacy and that is why we will be always be here with you in all your endeavors,” Mateo said.(PNA)


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