Puresouls Learning Foundation is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) established in 2007 and has been at the forefront of advocacy for people living with a developmental disability with a particular focus on Autism. We have been advocating for the acceptance, inclusion, education, skill development and empowerment of these groups of people.
The theme for the 2023 edition is: Embracing Art Through The Lens Of A Differently Abled where seven talented artists living with autism will be showcased
Autism refers to a broad range of conditions characterised by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, and speech and non-verbal communication. Several factors may influence the development of Autism and it is often accompanied by sensory sensitivities. Some associated development delays can appear earlier and often, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Research shows that early intervention leads to positive outcomes later in life for people with Autism.
Each person with Autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges. It has been proven over time that Art remains one of the creative measures/channels they could express themselves; connect to people around them and the world at large.
At our Foundation, we have come to embrace their truth and uniqueness, identify with their struggles, and appreciate their bond with creativity. We have discovered that Art is one of the therapies used in providing acute care stabilization, skill building and maintaining positive psychology. This has helped to improve their self-confidence, self-awareness and emotional regulation.
In 2021, we began our partnership and collaboration with Terra Kulture. This gave prominence to the works of these young artists and attracted the attention of international communities. Their works have sold over 3 million naira since then.
Daniel Ayomikun Okolie: Born on the 3rd of October 2003, 19 years ago.
He was diagnosed with autism at age 4. Daniel spent his early years as a non-verbal introverted child. He later underwent speech therapy, motor skill development and several emotional control techniques at Patrick Speech and Languages Centre. Over the years he blossomed and was integrated into the mainstream educational setting.
Contrary to his parent’s expectations, it was discovered that Art and Music were his passion and that was all he wanted to do and that started a new phase for him.
Daniel has successfully completed high school with an averagely good grade at the (2022 NECO and SSCE Exam).
Presently, Daniel is at Redeemed College of Technology (RECTEM) where his passion for Art and painting is been sharpened for better understanding and performance.
Daniel’s 1st Art Exhibition (DNX Creatoon) held at Terra Kulture in April 2, 2002 (World Autism Day) till April 10th, 2022 which was a bang and an eye opener to so many potential locked up in this Young Talent, he was also presented an award in Creativity and Innovation by SeeJoy Foundation International (a Non-Governmental Agency).
This 2nd exhibition will be a collection of Daniel’s best works ranging from abstracts to Animations, life painting and nature paintings as well. His use of colours is unimaginable.
Daniel draws straight from memory showing his unique imaginative capacity, he draws inspirations from his surroundings and anything that attracts his fancy.
Oyinpreye Azazi is 8 years old, born on 26th march 2014 to Solape and Pelede Azazi. He is an Indigene of Bayelsa. He is on the autism spectrum and thriving in Art and Music.
He is a charming storyteller who views the world through art and music. He has an eclectic love for music ranging from the classic nursery rhymes to musical scores from movies and classical string music. He plays the piano and drums.
He finds drawing and colouring peaceful and calming especially when he is having a sensory overload. You can always find him in at his work station in the family study bringing his imagination to live on the pages of his drawing pad.
Zizah Okeugo, a 13 year old boy diagnosed with autism, began sketching and colouring with crayons. His first drawing was a picture of the angry birds from a tee-shirt he wore to school at 3 years old. This is Zizah’s 3rd Exhibition at Terra Kulture.
Limited in speech, Zizah has found expression through Art and Music. His ability to recall images from memory with high precision replicating them on paper and also playing music by ear, has earned him the moniker “eideticboy.”
His first solo exhibition “eidetic impressions” opened on April 2nd, 2021 at Terra Kulture Gallery, Lagos to mark the World Autism Awareness Month. Since then he has participated in a few exhibitions one of which is the 2021 PARAART TOKYO International Exhibition where he emerged winner in the young category.
His family believe that sharing his Art helps to create awareness, understanding and acceptance of Autism. Society also gets to see what the differently abled can achieve given the opportunity.
Much of Zizah’s inspirartion comes from the visual world around him and when he is not sketching or painting. He loves to swim and experience the world through the lenses of his camera.
FuNom Oti Wenyang was born in August 21st, 2000. She is the first of two children of Mr. and Mrs. WeyNom Abner Wenyang. She is from Kwoi, Kaduna State. She resides with her parents in Kwoi, Southern Kaduna.
It was noticed that she could not do a lot of things children of her age could do even at three years. She could not say her own words but just repeat a word or phrase that anyone says. She was finally diagnosed with autism when she was nine years old.
She went through therapy for about two years in an autistic Centre as she could not cope with the main stream school. She is presently not in school because of the high cost of the therapy. Up till now, she can only mumble a few words when prompted.
She spends her time at home drawing intricate designs with pens and also painting. She also enjoys cutting and stitching any piece of paper or cloth.
In 2018, Patrick Speech and Languages Centre, a Centre that caters for children and young adults living with Autism, awarded her scholarship to attend their summer school. They saw her artistic talent and advised that it should be developed as a vocation for her. As part of their support, the Centre selected her with other children Artist to showcase some of their works for this year’s World Autism Awareness Month/Art Exhibition.
Chijindu Chukwunomnso Ijomah: 13 year-old Chijindu has Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Besides this introduction, Chijindu is an amazing athlete and artist. Chijindu has learned the proper path and stroke for his brushes as well as for his creativity after studying under Funso Omojola and Olayemi Olamilekan, respectively.
Chijindu’s paintings stand out when the works of great artists are on display not only because of his unique approach to art and artistic endeavours and the exceptional quality of his works, but also because of his uniqueness and originality. His works of Art speaks to the imagination of a young child, the perseverance that defies all odds and the love and support of a mother.
Aside painting, Chijindu had grown to love the piano as well. He has gone from playing random keys to playing rhymes and interesting melodies. He also enjoys swimming when he is not painting or playing the piano. His life as an artist revolves around these three fascinating endeavours. Along with these three traits, he is committed to his studies. His learning activities are focused on speech therapy and all other special education requirements.
Christine Mike Nnaji: Born in Galway, Ireland, Christine never spoke a word for the first four years but she could rock back and forth to Barney and Friends. She returned to Nigeria and was enrolled in a special needs school, hoping that she would learn to speak, read and write.
Christine who had limited speech, caught up quickly with colours, numeracy and some level of speech. Being under therapy for years, she is able to sketch on old textbooks and loves Art and Craft, nothing spectacular until the pandemic when she held a paint brush and a canvas for the first time. It was discovered that she had a photographic memory and could absorb scenes and pictures as well as draw what she saw within a couple of hours on paper. Her journey to drawing and painting started and it was like she’s been drawing for years.
Once she is painting, she becomes a totally different person. It was like an awakening. She came alive with colours, watched movies with the family, engaged in conversation and loves painting while listening to Michael Jackson’s song.
On the 12th of April 2022, her debut exhibition was held at “Terra Kulture” in Lagos, Nigeria. This was followed by another one at the lounge of “The Learning Place Innovation Centre” and Maritime Art Exhibition at Alliance Francaise.
She loves high octane music, plays violin and loves running.
Damiloju Yomi- Adeyemi is a 17-year-old artist and 2nd of 3 children. She was diagnosed with Autism at 4. She has always been a happy child with bouts of hyperactivity, which thankfully have now been controlled.
Her love for creative art and interest in music was discovered at her school “Manna Children‘s Centre”. With constant intervention in speech and cognition, motor skill development, nutrition and occupational therapy she was able to build independence and abilities to adequately cope in our world.
Her love for painting and playing the piano is unquantifiable. She recently added the violin to her list of instruments and is breaking barriers.
She still needs a lot of speech clarity and cognition but it is very rewarding and equally amazing to see her grow and carve a niche for herself in the world of Art and hone her talent as she continues to express herself artistically.