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February 5, 2010

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The Eye

arts & entertainment

Artist aims to show positive side of autism some autistic people have. This inspired her to make her art concentration on the autistic spectrum. Kwon emailed art teacher Barbara Harvey over the summer to ask if she could do this concentration. Harvey was hesitant, but said she would consider it. “I was excited to see how excited [Iris] was about it,” Harvey said, “but I was concerned with her being able to have enough research to not offend that particular population. [I was also concerned with her] being able to illustrate it, Rushing to meet the deadline: Kwon finishing to put something that’s her latest concentration piece on Autism very full of life into two dimensions.” by Caroline Hui A month later, Harvey gave Kwon By 5:30 a.m., junior Iris Kwon permission to do her concentration had fallen asleep. She had pulled on the autistic spectrum. an all-nighter – again – to work “[Iris] continued to email me on her AP Studio Art: 2D Design over the summer and develop her project. On her computer, Skype idea,” Harvey said. “I supported it, was running with her partner-in- seeing how ferociously she attacked pulling-all-nighters-for-art, junior it.” Angela Kim, on the line. Kwon’s concentration is “I can always work from midnight particularly unusual because she till morning,” Kwon said. “I always chose to focus on an idea rather pull all-nighters with Angela. We than a physical object. This called put on Skype, and then every hour for research on the characteristics of we have to show each other how autism so that she could get a better much we’ve done.” understanding of how to portray the This year, Kwon is pulling condition in her artwork. A Google all-nighters to work on her art search was not enough to give her a concentration, a central theme that better idea of how to present autism. pulls an artist’s portfolio together. “Honestly, while I was Students typically choose a noun as researching, I was kind of their art concentration, but Kwon disappointed because I thought chose to do hers on the autistic there would be a lot of information spectrum where in 12 pieces, she on autism, but it was the same portrays different levels of autism. thing over and over again,” Kwon Over the summer, Kwon read said. “Basically, I had to do only “The Curious Incident of the Dog one search to know what autism in the Nighttime” for her English was because it would always class. The protagonist is diagnosed say, ‘Not everybody’s sure what with savant syndrome, an ability that autism is because it depends on the

individual.’” Kwon said the lack of information on autism negatively impacted her artwork. “About last month or so, Ms. Harvey told me, ‘I think you’re falling apart’ because I always did OCDfeeling artwork,” she said. “There are diverse meanings of autism and she told me I was being too narrow. Besides, my concentration is the autistic spectrum, so it has to be diverse, but [Harvey] said I was only going in one direction. So I’m working on that.” To compensate for the lack of information on the Internet, Kwon watched movies with autistic characters and observed autistic people. “I watched ‘Rain Man’ and ‘As Good As It Gets’,” she said. Kwon said she refers to these two movies for inspiration about 60 percent of the time. For one of her required 12 pieces, which shows hands wearing plastic gloves holding a Rubik’s cube, she painted plastic gloves because the autistic character in ‘As Good As It Gets’ wears plastic gloves to open doors. Kwon has gone to the Early Childhood Center (ECC) to observe an autistic boy, who she found through Harvey. “[Meeting this boy] was my first time seeing an autistic person in real life,” she said. “When I first met him, I was so excited because I got the rare chance to meet someone like that, but I was worried, too, because he was sensitive, so I didn’t want to be like, ‘I’m always watching you.’ I wanted to be friends with him first.”

In their first meeting, the opposition. “People who knew what autism two played with toy trucks and played hide-and-seek on the was, were like, ‘I don’t know if you playground. Kwon’s meeting with should do this,’” Kwon said. “My him inspired her to paint a boy lining mom was worried because [she had the] same up toy trains for opinion as Ms. one of her pieces. Harvey. If I In addition People think ‘[autistic people] did something to meeting with are antisocial...’ but I want to that would the autistic offend other boy, Kwon has show people that they are people, that’s watched a video gonna be that her cousin more than that. really bad, recorded while Junior Iris Kwon so they were teaching at a really worried school for autistic children in Korea. Kwon wants about it.” The sheer difficulty of portraying to travel with SAS counselors to a school for autistic children in autism in artwork made some people Singapore to observe their behavior. question Kwon’s decision. “I supported her, but at the same “The whole point of this concentration was to show people time I was like, ‘Are you sure you a different side of autism,” she really want to do this?’” junior said. “People think, ‘[autistic Angela Kim said. “But I believe people] are antisocial, they don’t that she can do it. She’s doing really make eye contact, they’re always in [well]. Iris is a really determined their own world and they don’t open person, especially when it comes to up’, but I want to show people that art. Like [on Friday] I called her and she was like, ‘I’m drawing!’ And they are more than that.” When Kwon first declared her I was like, ‘Iris, it’s Friday after concentration, she faced some school!’” caroline.eye@gmail.com

Solving the puzzle: an acrylic piece illustrating autism. Kwon was inspired by the character from “As Good As It Gets” for the plastic gloves.

Plastic: secret of modern mummies Art and Biology students visit body exhibit to learn more about human anatomy

The Skin Man: one of the many full bodies on display at Body World. The figure is holding his own skin.

by Gretchen Connick “The head bone connected to the neck bone, the neck bone connected to the back bone, the back bone connected to the thigh bone, dem bones gonna walk aroun,” explain he lyrics of “Dem Bones” explain the lyrics of “Dem Bones” written by James Weldon Johnson. Those connections are graphically illustrated in Dr. Gunther von Hagen’s Body World exhibit of preserved human bodies and body parts. Now in Singapore, von Hagen’s creations help explain the technology that creates, enhances and ends life. Close to 20 full bodies and 200 body parts are on display at the Science Center. The display began in late October and ends March 6. Body World offers 12 exhibits visitors can explore. An exhibit that students relate to, “Smells like Teen Spirit,” depicts maturation from childhood into adolescence. It focuses on the development of the teenage brain, and in the process looks at the teenage mind that creates what teens love most; music, art, fashion and technology. Using children’s and teenagers’

bodies, this exhibit provides a visual display of the physical changes that take place. Descriptions and explanations fill in any gaps and further explain the brain development process. Body World’s 11 other exhibits host the nervous and cardiovascular systems, stages of pregnancy and more. All of the bodies on display were donated by their owners. Donors sign a contract handing their body over to the organization allowing their use for educational purposes once they die. While human beings are the dominant figures in Body World, the exhibit includes bodies of a horse, giraffe and squid. Senior Matthew Grgas, who enjoyed the full sized giraffe, said that the fact that these bodies are real is, “peculiar, but very intriguing.” Each body is carefully preserved in a plastic casing through a process called plastination. Displays feature bodies from the womb to the tomb. Physiology and biology teacher, Jay Kumpel took his class on a journey through the large hall of bodies shortly before the winter break with the hopes of furthering his students’

understanding of the technicalities of the human body. The Studio Art class and some of the AP art students are use their talents by drawing the bodies on class field trips. They recently visited the exhibit and will go back before interim begins and once after it ends. Mondays are dedicated to school trips and the exhibit is not open to the public. “By about 4:15 it was just us and it was dead silent which was weird being in a huge dark room full of bodies,” senior Kathryn Tinker said. Body World is a look at the cycle of life and is not shy about depicting bodies of the sick and weak. Smokers get to see what their lungs might look like down the road, and all visitors get to see the effects of cancer, tumors, inflammatory diseases and the process of ageing. Body World attempts to engage in a variety of interests and draw in a broad audience. “It was a good visualization of the human body. It was a little creepy in some respects, but overall it was really cool,” junior Caitlin Crowe said. connick.eye@gmail.com

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SAS community raises almost 100,000 dollars (story, page 3) February 5, 2010 / Vol. 29 No. 4 Singapore American School FFFFFFFFFFeFFFFFFbrua...

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