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We Are Fine Enough
from Marc Schlossman Plus 3 years ago
'We Are Fine Enough' is an intimate, powerful and sensitive portrayal of the life of an autistic child and the ways in which he and his family cope with his disability. In 1994, Marc Schlossman began a photojournalism project documenting the life of Charlie, a five-year-old boy with severe autism and profound learning difficulties. He has continued documenting Charlie, now 20, and his family. Cynthia Bartlett, Charlie's mother, saw her one-year-old son develop the most severe level of autism within autistic spectrum disorder. Only now is Charlie starting to seek and enjoy social contact. Yet he remains self-injurious, he has no ability to speak and he is incontinent. He is dependent on his mother and those around him for his basic care.
'We Are Fine Enough' consists entirely of still photographs from Charlie's life with a narration by his mother. The film began as four 3-minute films commissioned by Channel 4 in the UK for their '3-Minute Wonders' slot and was broadcast in September 2005. Marc began the project to increase awareness of lives with autism and to build a greater understanding of autistic spectrum disorders. 'We Are Fine Enough' is the culmination in film of a long-term commitment to providing a unique view into lives with autism.
A Dandelion Beginning to Seed
- The sculpture is of a dandelion beginning to seed; it is intended as a visual representation of a metaphor created by Thorkil Sonne, which describes a desired paradigm shift in the way individuals on the autism spectrum are viewed in society, and in the workforce:
Many of us view the dandelion as a weed – something to be rooted out of our lawns and flowerbeds. They disrupt what we desire to be uniform and conventional. But what a lot of people do not realize is that, when cultivated, the dandelion is one of the most valuable and useful plants in nature – known for its nutritional, healing and medicinal properties. The dandelion is a “weed” only because it is in an environment where it is not welcomed.
People with autism often struggle to feel welcome. The Dandelion metaphor stands for the need to create an environment where individuals can thrive, and their abilities and talents can be nurtured. As the Dandelion’s seeds fly up and out to the world, they carry in them potential to grow into a thriving, valuable plant. The context they land in will be a crucial factor in whether or not they get the chance to grow and realize that potential.
The sculpture was designed by Evelyn Austin and Victoria MacCormac; and constructed by Evelyn Austin and Gregers Frederickson. It stands at height of approximately 5’9’’ and is made primarily of copper (stem), Moss (centre), and plastic cups (seeds).
The sculpture was presented at the Pump Night-Raffle event put on by the Dandelions and Dragonflies organization for the Dragonfly Centre; along with corresponding information about the metaphor it represents, the Dragonfly Centre, and Specialisterne (the company founded by Thorkil Sonne to promote the inclusion of neurodiverse people into the workforce). For now the Sculpture is wintering indoors, waiting for the next opportunity to be put on display.