Vibrancy and creativity await those who check out an exhibition displaying a diverse selection of work created by young artists living with autism and intellectual disabilities.

The exhibition Artists, Adolescents and The Autism Spectrum is opening to the public at the Arts Village today.

Jan Hastie, a Rotorua advocate for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) awareness, initiated the exhibition after doing research for her masters degree in Science in Health Psychology with Massey University.

The research included interviewing adolescents in the region living with ASD, and the people who support them.


During her research she discovered a number of these youth were creatively focused in their daily routines and invited them to participate in the exhibition.

There are five artists from the Bay of Plenty region, aged between 14 and 20 with work in the exhibition, including Hastie's 20-year-old daughter Bricharne.

Last April, with support from the Arts Village, Bricharne held a solo show celebrating NZ Autism Month.

Hastie said the artists and their families had an opening event last night, which was closed to the public.

"It's really lovely being able to celebrate neurodiversity and their adolescent children."

She said the art exhibited at the Arts Village looked amazing.

Hastie said the exhibition was about the young artists creating their identity and showing this was all possible.

"They are telling the world who they are."


She said it was also an avenue for the public to see what was possible for their young people.

Hastie said for her daughter Bricharne, art was a way for her to be part of the community.

"She loves it and finds a lot of pride in it."

Most of the artworks are for sale, though there are some personal ones the artists just have on display.

The exhibition will run until Sunday, June 24. She thanked the Arts Village and Rotorua Lakes Council for their help with funding.

Exhibition artists:
- Matthew Peake
- Bricharne Hastie
- Bobby Morris-Lidgard
- Natasha Rive
- Dayna McMillan