Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Autistic Boy Wins 7th Arte Laguna Prize

Series Boys in a City Park was an evolution from the images of injury photographed in the Hospital Gardens in and around Donetsk, Ukraine during a summer residency in 2011 with IZOLYATSIA Foundation for Cultural Initiatives. The broken limbs in Hospital Gardens were an overt metaphor for an emotional fracture, but I was seeking an evolution towards something beyond that and less easily defined; a hidden damage.

My assistant and translator Yulya Shato contacted some different mental health organisations in Donetsk, one of which was a small support group for parents of autistic children. We arranged to meet them in a park in the centre of Donetsk.

It was a blisteringly hot and sunny day; close to 36ยบ.  When we arrived at the park, nothing seemed 'out of the ordinary', people were going about their business and children and parents were playing on the swings and sandpits. We waited for sometime before realising that the parents and children playing were in fact our potential subjects. As we introduced ourselves I watched the children and could not see any indication of their condition or how it might visualise itself.

Only at the point of shooting, exposed to the camera, did the extraordinary complexity of autism as a relative condition reveal itself. During the impossible battle to position the children, their detachment from our reality became startlingly and movingly evident but it was only in hindsight, viewing the chaotic frames, that some of their intimate world was exposed.

Many thanks to Arte Laguna Prize 12.13.

'Boy #1, from series Boys in a City Park, UKR  /IZOLYATSIA © Richard Ansett 2011- Overall Winner - 7th Arte Laguna Prize 12.13 

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