Senator Leila M. de Lima has heaped praises on Samantha Kaspar, a Filipino-Swiss artist with autism, for raising autism awareness globally and promoting meaningful advocacies, such as biodiversity conversation, through her remarkable artworks.
De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, also lauded the 22-year-old Kaspar for inspiring other persons with autism to follow their dreams and not allow their disorder to prevent them from achieving success in life.
“Persons with autism, like the admirable artist Samantha Kaspar, are unique because they have this ability to see the world in a spectrum of colors. Like all of us, they have their own talents, which, given enough support and appreciation, can make positive contributions in our society,” she said.
“Samantha’s talents and skills are truly admirable, but what’s more remarkable is how she is using her art to reach out to different people across the world to raise awareness about autism and promote appreciation of our biodiversity,” she added.
This coming Oct. 17, around 40 of Kaspar’s paintings will be showcased in an exhibit called “Biodiversity Through My Eyes: An Art Exhibit for Biodiversity and Autism Awareness” to be held at the Enderun Colleges in Taguig City.
Kaspar’s works, which are expected to showcase the endemic and endangered fauna and flora of the Philippines, will reportedly celebrate the union between biodiversity and art, while raising awareness on autism and people with special needs.
De Lima said she hopes that Kaspar’s story would inspire other people, especially the Filipino public, to continue reaching out to persons with autism and developmental disorder and make them feel that they are loved and welcomed in the society.
“It is important that we provide persons with autism with the support system necessary to help them discover and advance their skills and become happy and productive members of the community,” she said.
On a personal note, De Lima shared that Kaspar reminded her of her eldest son, Israel de Lima Bohol, who also has a laudable talent in painting. Israel, whom the Senator calls “Kuya”, was born with nonverbal autism.
“Israel can creatively express himself through art. He continues to inspire me to do things and to remind me that nothing is impossible in this world as long as I put my mind and heart to it. He is such an angel,” she said.
“I will never forget how Kuya created a portrait of me wearing my long blue dress – my favorite color! – some two years ago, and showcased it in an exhibit, along with his other works,” she added.
It may be recalled that Israel already held an art exhibit in 2017 where he showcased the pieces he worked on since he began studying at the Young Artists’ Studio in 2012.
This 18th Congress, De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 855, or “Integrating Persons with Autism and other Development Disabilities Act,” seeking to establish institutional and social mechanisms to support persons with development disabilities and their families.
Under SB No. 855, an inter-agency and multi-sectoral agency shall be created to develop and implement a National Development Disability Program which is tasked to promote awareness, education and information about issues on development disabilities and set up network of support groups for their families.