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 & 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, & 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, & perhaps a little optimistic. The virus has disrupted life, but not entirely for the worse."