Artworks of 800 disabled students on show in Istanbul

A total of 800 disabled students are displaying in Istanbul their artworks which touch upon their pure imaginations and inner thoughts.

The students, suffering from autism, mental disabilities and Down syndrome, created around 1,000 art pieces for 37 separate projects designed for an exhibition at the Taksim Republic Art Gallery that lasts until Thursday.

Engin Beyaz, curator of the exhibit, said the artists are aged between 17 and 35 and attending classes of special schools across the city.

The art show starts with five-meter long hair of the Rapunzel, the main character in the Rapunzel fairy tale, which is made up of colorful wool threads.

“This chain knitting has supported the students to develop their communication, attention, perception and fine motor skills,” Beyaz told Xinhua.

For another project, a total of 100 students created a giant installation of various oval forms in large size, and their paintings are placed inside the oval forms.

“This work aims at increasing their self-confidence and giving them the happiness of being able to do something, as well as enabling them to share similar feelings with others,” read the description of the project.

For the exhibit, one female student drew pictures featuring the expressions of her classmates.

“You can find some characteristics of surrealism or expressionism in her works. You can even tell that she was inspired by Joan Miro, the Spanish painter, or the French artist Jean Dubuffet,” explained Beyaz.

“But the thing is she does not know either of them. She drew purely from her interpretation of the world around her,” he added.

Fatih Pelen, a 20-year-old man who is mentally disabled, created an entire project with his animal figures made up of paper and in different sizes.

“This is a horse of a prince. This one is a goat, lion, rhino, deer and donkey,” he showed his works one by one. “They also have skin.”

His mother said he felt relieved and happy when he produced works for the exhibit.

Pelen also built a miniature of himself and dyed his hair orange.

“But it is not here. It is for another exhibition,” his mother noted.