MS. KHALAF INTERPRETED THIS ILLUSTRATION BY MICHAEL RYAN ANDOLSEK FOR HER CAKE CREATION.
MS. KHALF'S STATEMENT:
"The past year has been one filled with uncertainty during this global pandemic. We were all thrown into a new reality of social distancing, remote learning or remote working, & limited social interaction. I knew how that affected me but I wondered, ”how does this all affect a person on the Autism Spectrum”? So I turned to MR ANDOLSEK and asked him. He provided me with 4 original pieces of art that illustrated what the past year felt like for him. The moment I saw the set of images, I immediately felt a sense of happiness, even though there was calamity in the background, the black & white circles seemed like areas of uncertainty the foreground and overall colors, evoked a feeling of happiness & hope. I later received an email from him which further explained how quarantine & the pandemic affected him."
MR ANDOLSEK'S STATEMENT:
"I understand that for many people, the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging and even sorrowful. Without diminishing the genuine suffering that has occurred, I'd like to share a little of my own experience, which has been far happier.
"There are fewer stimuli and stressors for me-- no more trying to interpret complicated facial expressions. No more holding my breath as I walk past someone who reaks of a disgusting meal. Fewer obligations to spend time with people I don't want to. Relief to one of my most significant anxiety inducers: waiting in line with other people! Decent interpersonal space is finally here, and it's more valuable than I can express.
"Prepandamic these were all things I had to work through every day, and coping requires a lot of energy. So when Mrs. Khalaf asked me to illustrate my feelings about this past year, I immediately set out to draw something clean, fresh, and perhaps a little optimistic. The virus has disrupted life but not entirely for the worse."