We got to the launch of Saima Kaur’s Autism: This is me at Kala Sangam (the intercultural arts hub in St Peter’s house next door to Bradford Cathedral) last night: beautiful, imaginative, important and moving.
She has used the phulkari shawl embroidery tradition from the Punjab – pieces of which have been handed down to her from her mother and grandmother – a tradition she knows she will not be able to pass down to her profoundly autistic daughter.
Her shawls represent interaction with stages of her daughter’s life. Her hopes in the gift of a child about to be drawn down to her. Herself in a spin amidst the things people said to her when her baby’s development seemed at first to be delayed. The sounds her growing daughter made. The way her daughter is overwhelmed by senses. Experiences of anger. Fears for the grown daughter she will one day leave behind.
And she spoke of the what a difference it had made to her to express all this, and how she had been able to draw some other mothers with children at the same Special School into expressing other aspects of their own, a few of which were also on display.
It continues during the Centre’s normal opening times until 23rd May.