Deshan’s Award-Winning Art Journey

September 7, 2017

Proof that Hamilton’s Deshan Walallavita is rapidly exploring his full potential as an artist came last week (30 August) when he was a top 10 finalist in the IHC Art awards.

Caption: Deshan Walallavita with his highly-commended artwork, ‘Self-portrait with my medals’, which sold for $535

The first people he and his family wanted to thank were the teams at Life Unlimited (Now Y Community Services and Enabling Good Lives.

Deshan, 22, who has high-functioning autism attended Patricia Avenue School and late last year was ready to put his school days behind him and work towards adulthood and being independent.

Life Unlimited community support manager Honey Hireme said when Deshan started on the Transition programme, the team worked on goal planning and connected him with a number of community activities and programmes.

One of those was the Sandz Art Gallery where Deshan’s talent became obvious.

“Deshan is a great young man who gives 100 percent in everything he does. He enjoys art, sports and being with his family.

“We are so proud of what he’s done.”

It was Sandz Art Gallery who entered one of Deshan’s art works in the competition which attracted nearly 400 entries.

He was highly commended and IHC flew him and support persons to Wellington for the awards at Shed 6 on the Wellington Waterfront.

His art sold for $535.

Wellington-based artist Emma Lou won the awards and with it $5000 with her finely detailed pastel drawing, self titled Emma Lou. Second prize of $2000 went to Wellington artist and 2016 winner Jo-Anne Tapiki for her tapestry work Kiwiana and third prize of $1000 was won by Cherie Mellsopp of Hamilton for her drawing Jade on Black.

Hamilton artist Julian Godfery won the People’s Choice award for his work Invisible Magic.

Entries included sculptures, installations and textile art, painting and drawing. The IHC Art Awards are open to all New Zealanders with an intellectual disability, age 13 or over, whether or not they use IHC services.

The finalists’ work was auctioned at the event with all proceeds from the sales going solely to the artists.

Life Unlimited’s Transition programme is a process that occurs for young people who are in their last years of high school and preparing to move on. The aim is to move students smoothly into post-school education, employment and/or community services and activities.
Students preparing to leave school between 16-21 years old with a disability who receive Ministry of Education Ongoing Resourcing Scheme funding and need support to achieve a successful transition into post school activities can access Life Unlimited’s Transition programme.
Life Unlimited staff meet with the student, their family and the school and agree a Memorandum of Understanding.
The work is one-on-one.


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