12-year-old artist finds his voice and passion through painting

WATCH ABOVE: Niam Jain is a 12-year-old artist who shares his thoughts and expressions through his paintings. With limited speech and comprehension, Niam chooses to overcome these barriers due to autism by showing how people can perceive the world differently. Susan Hay has the story in this week’s Making a Difference.

TORONTO — Art can take us places we have never been. It is a form of expression and imagination that we all seem to perceive differently.

Niam Jain has adopted art as a means of expression and communication. At a very young age, he has found his voice and passion through painting.

“Niam is a 12-year-old, he has autism, he speaks but he has very limited speech and not conversational,” says mother, Nina Jain.

“He’s a fun, loving, beautiful boy.”

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Diagnosed with autism at the age of two, Niam’s parents worried what their son’s life would look like when they are no longer here to take care of him.

“If there’s a parent out there who can understand. Many times I was awake at night thinking you know, when I’m not there anymore, what’s going to happen?” said Jain.

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“And now I can rest and I think, you know, not only is he going to be employed, but he loves what he does.”

Niam was first introduced to art this past summer and has been expressing his innermost thoughts and feelings ever since.

What began as a simple hobby has quickly turned into a business with his paintings now being recognized and sold.

“What I like about this painting is the way the colours are juxtaposed, the fine detail, the texture, and the overall composition,” said art enthusiast, Andy Cumming.

“It’s a painting that suggests to me that it would be made by a 50-year-old seasoned painter and we have a 12-year-old autistic boy that this came out of. It’s really extraordinary.”

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Niam’s parents created a studio in their home to make it easier for him to express himself through his artwork.

“He has done about 20 paintings, about nine of them have been very large sizes,” says Jain.

“We’ve been posting them on Facebook and we sell them sometimes within 10 minutes to an hour with multiple offers.”

Through his artwork, Niam is able to connect with those who admire his paintings and creativity.

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His paintings and his techniques have given Niam a voice and he has helped give a voice to others with autism.

“What’s important for us to remember, is that we all have a choice in terms of how we choose to look at what inclusion looks like and what potential looks like and how we support people,” said Autism Speaks Canada National Program Director Esther Rhee.

“Niam and his family have really taken this opportunity to celebrate what autism looks like.”

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His artwork is showing that he is no different than any other human being, but we simply choose to express ourselves differently.

“He’s able to express what he did that day, what movie he saw, a field trip that he went on, they all come out onto his paintings,” says Jain.

“Our whole life revolves around his paintings now!”