Rosie Johnson-Prior from Taylors Mistake is a 20-year-old artist with dreams of opening her own workshop.
“She likes to be able to show people what she can do and how she can express herself through art,” said her mother, Suzanne Johnson.
Rei Gallery owner Damian Mackie created the exhibition as a way for intellectually disabled artists to display their canvas work.
The exhibition is called Ngā Whare o Takiwatanaga, meaning ‘The many houses of Autism.’
Most of the 10 featured artists worked with Mackie during workshops with the disability organisation Hōhepa Canterbury last year.
The young artist chose the theme after experiencing the loss of two people close to her last year.
The pink on the painting represents her cousin Dell Johnson and the purple for her dance instructor Adriaan Beedie.
The yellow represents the love between Dell and her husband Jimmy.
The painting features a love heart in the centre, which Johnson-Prior is going to detail further with Māori patterns.
Johnson-Prior graduated from Rudolph Steiner School at the end of 2023.
“Mostly she uses a pallette knife instead of a brush to get the effects she wants,” said Johnson.
She believes her daughter’s down syndrome helps her creatively in some ways.
“There’s not the same self-consciousness or worry about what somebody’s going to think. It’s just really about being present in the moment and that flow of creativity.”
She said her daughter will sometimes paint on multiple canvases at once for a creativity boost.
With her family’s support, this year she has the ambition of starting her own workshop and teaching art there with her older sister.
The exhibition runs until February 6.
The themes of the other artists include taio (the environment), kaitiakaitanga (guardianship), rereke (point of difference) and whakapapa (ancestry).