A joyful kaleidoscope in clay, Lo Yip-nang’s display of intricate patterns in jewel tones entranced thousands of people who visited his exhibition at the Jockey Club Creative Art Centre in Shek Kip Mei. Although many were eager to talk to the artist, he kept working with his slivers of coloured clay, giving monosyllabic replies to queries.
“You’ve been working all day; are you tired?” asks one woman. “No,” he says after a long pause. “People like your work, does that make you happy?” asks another. “Yes.”
Lo wasn’t playing the temperamental artist, though. The 30-year-old is autistic and his two-week exhibition last month is a personal triumph – and a sign of hope that people with the disability can live independently.
Autism stems from glitches in neurological development that cause sufferers to be socially impaired. Unable to interpret what people are expressing or to communicate how they feel, they typically become engrossed with specific objects instead or find comfort in repetitive behaviour and routine. But Lo, or Nang as he is affectionately known, is a rare autistic person who found a way to express himself.