Elsa Osborne – Neurodiverse Lived Experience

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Faculty mentor: Dr. CoCo James

Artist’s Statement: As a neurodiverse student, I was inspired by my own lived experience, as well as the experiences others face who also have a learning disability or mental health condition. While society has made improvements in recognizing neurodiverse individuals, resources, research, and understanding still falls short. Because of this, I chose to make a visual art piece that brings awareness to the issues and feelings of neurodiverse people.

I used flowers as my main art form, and made choices of which flowers I included based on their meanings. I chose to use red and yellow carnations on the right side (misunderstood, stigmatized brain) because they symbolize heart aching and rejection, as many people with learning disabilities experience those feelings. I then wrote negative feelings and words in the shape of a brain in dull colors to emphasize that those feelings don’t feel good. On the positive, understood side, I choose to use bright colors and flowers with uplifting meanings. The hydrangeas symbolize gratitude for being understood, which is such an important thing for humans. Further, I had daisies sprouting out of the brain to show hope growing, as that is what daisies symbolize.

I hope viewers can easily see the contrast between dark and light—neurodiverse people are more prone to depression and anxiety, and the dark colors and words are here to show this statistic. I am passionate about helping the neurodivergent community to feel more accepted, and I hope my art piece can do that.

View my art below!
Questions or comments? Contact me at: u1242954@umail.utah.edu

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