Dublin leads the way in providing platform for artists with autism

by Rachel Cunningham
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A Dublin-based initiative is giving artists with autism a voice, by transferring paintings created by the artists to a range of t-shirts, tote bags, cushions and socks.

Dyeboo is the brainchild of Cora Walsh, 70, whose son Conor is among the talented artists to have their work featured for the first time at Gifted in Dublin’s RDS, which began yesterday, Dec 6.

She named the company Dyeboo after a term which Conor, now aged 39, used as child to express his joy at beautiful things.

“I came up with the concept after discovering there were limited platforms on which Conor could express himself through his artwork,” said Cora, originally from Salthill in Galway and now living in Cleveland, Ohio.

“Many autistic people often experience sensory overload, so for them, the noise and crowds of a market or exhibition centre could be overwhelming and provide an obstacle to them displaying their work.

“We want to give autistic people a voice and a way for them to exhibit their huge talent which, like everyone else, they are entitled to do.

“Essentially, the company bridges the worlds of art, creativity and autism advocacy.

Each artist is paid a commission, their art work printed on a range of products such as t-shirts, socks and cushions.

If a design or artwork is printed on multiple products, the more recognition and commission the artist gets.

Dyeboo is based in Templeogue and is run in Ireland by Cora’s niece, Cathy McEvoy.

Its collection at the five-day fair will also include a limited edition Christmas snowman t-shirt designed by 11 autistic children, in collaboration with Involve Autism.

The children drew snowmen which the company incorporated on a t-shirt – and part of the proceeds from sales will go towards helping Involve Autism establish sport and art groups and organise support coffee mornings for new parents of autistic children.

All the clothing is sourced from organic cotton and the company uses sustainable packaging on all products.

Gifted, the Contemporary Craft and Design Fair, begins at Dublin’s RDS on Wednesday and runs until Sunday. Full details and booking at www.giftedfair.ie.

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