JANUARY 20, 2018
This is my midterm project, a painting based off of a prompt given to us in class. The prompt was: "Develop an original work of art that represents or symbolizes: Full Community inclusion for everyone, including individuals with developmental disabilities (language, mobility, mental, etc.)." The subject of my painting is an augmentative communication device, along with a banner in front that reads "Part of the community". The painting also features some lightly colored lilies and flowers to provide a bit of a background. The augmentative communication device features many buttons that allow the person using it to "speak", which I tried to show on the painting.
I made this project with a water-proof black pen and water color paints. My first step in the process was to draw out the communicator and then the banner, which I then outlined with black pen and colored using watercolor paints. I wanted to use lighter watercolors because I felt that that would bring a more cheery mood to the painting than darker, bolder colors. I didn't want the work to be too much of a statement, so I chose a cursive font to go along with the banner, so as not to pop out too much. I ran across a problem after I had finished making the communicator and the banner, however, because I wasn't sure what to do with the background. I wanted to add a little something more, but didn't want to take away from the real message and idea of the communicator, so I decided to add some little flowers coming out from behind the communicator and banner to create a sense of layers in the painting and keep it from being too flat.
This painting came out very different from what my idea was when I first heard the prompt. I initially planned to make it more broad in terms of who I represented, but I ended up making it pretty personal, which I actually like better. I have a cousin, Jaclyn, who is 14 years old and developmentally delayed as well as autistic. Because of this, she is not able to speak or really communicate verbally. She has an augmentative communication device, which allows her to "speak" through the machine, ask questions, and even sing happy birthday. Family is very present in my life, so I've spent quite a bit of time with Jaclyn and her "words", as our family calls the communicator. It's really cool how familiar she is with the device, and how by pressing a few buttons she can communicate with others. This communicator allows Jaclyn to do certain things in the community that would be difficult without it. She can participate in swim, she can communicate with family and friends, and she can go to school and learn. I wanted to convey this on the painting through the different categories I involved on the communicator, because I think they show how involved she is and how involved someone disabled can be. It's really cool what this particular device has done to help Jaclyn and the family, so when I heard the prompt, what came to mind was my cousin and how even though she is "disabled", she is pretty present in the community and our family.