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Joshua Martin – Hero of Hope

posted 14 Jun 2012, 03:26 by Arinda Conradie   [ updated 14 Aug 2012, 10:37 by Arinda Conradie ]
Joshua Martin (18), a young emerging South African artist, whose creative artwork in acrylics reveals a passion for bold use of bright colours but characterised by a deliberate desire to share ‘his reality’ in an expression of close detail or surprises you with an exaggerated interpretation of the moment or, perhaps just opting for total oblivion to the obvious. Herein lingers the creative mystery and puzzling condition known as autism that shapes the creative world of Joshua Martin.

Each piece of work created by Joshua Martin celebrates moments in his life or imagination - chances are that we will never know. Each fragment of an encounter or experience shapes his unique view of the complex and mysterious universe in which he has to find meaning as to what is ‘his reality’ – something that is likely to contrast sharply with the everyday world that we experience. 

For those whose universe is filtered through the lens of autism, it is a life fraught with real and tangible challenges and, yet, it is not a world bereft of imagination, creative energy or joy! Through his expression in painting – we are granted the privilege to glimpse how Joshua Martin interprets ‘his reality’. 

The artwork of Joshua Martin reveals itself as a gateway to his life’s experiences, both within and beyond. His paintings provide him with the means to communicate and tell us about his thoughts, feelings and experiences, being those skills and ability eclipsed by his autistic condition. Subconsciously however, the creative energy inherent in painting lends itself to therapeutic healing, perhaps even offering him some means for daily survival in a universe that neither appreciates nor understands the hidden mysteries of autism. For Joshua Martin, working in the expressionist milieu is intuitive and instinctive – it is how he understands, interprets and depicts ‘his reality’. He sees, he feels, he senses the world as ‘experiential moments’ that he gives meaning and expression in art form. To the outsider, the life of a person caught in a world of autism might offer an intriguing and fascinating path of discovery, but for those sharing his inner circle, it is a gripping and continually unfolding script, a journey with no return, through places calling for dedicated companions of humble spirit. It compels one to be open-minded to taking the ‘different route’ and bound by a willingness to adjust your focus at a moment’s call. Joshua Martin is tutored and guided by his mother, a painter and writer in her own right. At the age of 16, this young artist declared his commitment to an important decision he had taken on his life ahead: he will be an astoundingly successful painter and work towards being extremely wealthy! This eccentric, but disarmingly charming, young man demonstrates the potential, talent, dedication and drive to fulfil his goal of a chosen career.

He presented his first successful solo exhibition at Die Huisgalery (Centurion, South Africa) in December 2010, which carried coverage in the national media. In October 2011, as one of ten nationally selected artists with autism, he participated in an art exhibition, called ‘Heroes of Hope’, at the Aardklop Arts Festival in Potchefstroom, South Africa (staged by Solidarity Helping Hand). National media covered the event with the specific intent of raising awareness about autism. Through this WWIS-calendar project, it is Joshua Martin’s aim and hope to be an active catalyst in raising awareness and creating support for autism among the general public. One of his friends recently sported a T-shirt with the apt comment: Autism is my disability and condition, don’t let ignorance be yours! The internationally recognised emblem of autism, the ‘Autism Awareness Bow’ is a brightly coloured puzzle-piece, first created in 1963 by the National Autistic Society, and said to represent hope. Believing that, “The puzzle piece is so effective because it tells us something about autism: our children are handicapped by a puzzling condition; this isolates them from normal human contact and therefore they do not ‘fit in’”. Its significance has become multi-faceted. For some, it symbolises the mystery and complexity of the disorder, for others it represents the mechanical nature of an autistic person’s thought process. (http://teamlaughingdog.com/autism/)

For more information about Joshua Martin and his artwork contact us or complete our enquiry form and we will contact you.