Aida is a delightful young lady who has severe special needs including Attachment Disorder, Autism, Anxiety and a Tic disorder. This means that she struggles with all areas of daily life, especially communication. However, around the beginning of 2016, she discovered that she loves to paint pictures. The realisation that she has a talent for painting began to dawn on her Mother, Julie, in May 2016 when Aida was encouraged by Denise at Downs View Link College to paint a picture of the helter-skelter on the end of Brighton Pier for an open house day at the college.
The painting received a lot of attention at the open house, with a number of people wanting to buy it. This inspired Julie, to encourage Aida to paint some more Brighton scenes to give to the staff as leaving presents. The results were stunning and Aida’s talent became apparent.
Aida was born in Bosnia in April 1997, just after the end of the Yugoslavian war. At birth she was placed directly into the Children’s Home in Sarajevo where she remained for the first 5 years of her life. This is where Julie, a British volunteer working in the home, met Aida (aged 2 ½ ) and started the process to adopt her and bring her back to England. Since her adoption, Aida has always engaged in a lot of arts and crafts at home, at school/ college and at art club, particularly loving opportunities to play with colours. Layering them on objects such as shells and stones, colouring over stickers again and again to watch the colours changing and mixing paints and glitters etc. to make new colours.
In 2017 Aida moved to St Johns College where she has been encouraged and inspired to continue painting by her keyworker Ed. To begin with Aida needed a lot of verbal support (and some physical help with mixing colours) in order to paint a picture, needing her attention drawn to each area, line, shadow, colour, etc. However, she is now becoming much more independent and mainly just needs prompting to keep her focussed.
Her paintings were included in three exhibitions in 2017 – at the Jubilee Library in Brighton (June), at Café Plenty in Brighton (October) and at The Montague Quarter in Worthing (December).
It is very exciting that Aida has found something she loves to do which will provide her with a ‘career’ when she leaves college.