My 25 year old son Kallum is learning disabled and autistic. His support network, which has been in place for several years collapsed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and as a result he is in a near constant state of distress. The routines that structure Kallum’s week have disappeared. Familiar faces and places can no longer be seen. Unexpected behaviour from those around us such as clapping on doorsteps breaks the usual social rules and creates sensory overload.
I am therefore focussing my attention on helping Kallum process what is happening and to developing coping mechanisms to get through today, tomorrow and the months to come. We are doing this together through art, more specifically through dialogue, collage and assemblage.
Whilst we are all finding lockdown difficult, for people like Kallum who experience life differently it is proving to be a huge challenge which is adversely affecting his mental health, confidence, independence, and wellbeing and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Our artwork conveys, in some small way, the experience of lockdown for Kallum.
This work has been supported by an Engine Micro Bursary, designed to document artists’ experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic through new research and making.