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Self-taught artist’s autism film shortlisted for £10,000 prize

PUBLISHED: 12:03 26 April 2018 | UPDATED: 13:26 26 April 2018

Charlotte Amelia Poe, from Blundeston, has been nominated for a Spectrum Art Prize 2018. Picture: SAM MARKWELL

Charlotte Amelia Poe, from Blundeston, has been nominated for a Spectrum Art Prize 2018. Picture: SAM MARKWELL

Sam Markwell

A self-taught artist from Suffolk is in the running for a brand new prize celebrating the work of people on the autistic spectrum.

Ms Poe wants to challenge society's definition of what it means to be austistic. Picture: SAM MARKWELLMs Poe wants to challenge society's definition of what it means to be austistic. Picture: SAM MARKWELL

Charlotte Amelia Poe, from Blundeston, has been chosen as a finalist for the Spectrum Art Prize 2018 after submitting her film ‘How To Be Autistic’.

Ms Poe is one of seven artists shortlisted for the award, with the winner set to receive £10,000 in prize money.

Working with video and film, Ms Poe attempts to create art that challenges society’s definition of what it means to be autistic.

She said: “Neurotypical people are writing about us, with an idea of how to fix us. I want to make people who care for autistic people understand. I want to be a resource for people to say you are not on your own.”

‘How To Be Autistic’, is shot from the point of view of someone living with autism – something that Ms Poe considers a rare and valuable perspective.

She said: “I wanted to show the side of autism that I have lived through, the side you don’t find in books and on Facebook groups.

“The title ‘How To Be Autistic’ is taken from the idea that, constantly, neurotypical people are writing about us, with an idea of how to fix us.

“My piece is a story about survival, fear, and finally, hope. It is an open letter to every autistic person who has suffered the verbal, mental or physical abuse and come out snarling and alive.”

Ms Poe would like to be an ambassador for the condition so that she can be supportive to others who have faced similar difficulties.

The competition will be judged by Mark Wallinger, who received the Turner Prize in 2007; Richard Billingham, whose work is held in numerous public collections worldwide, including the Tate; and Sarah Craddock, an independent curator and critic, who has written for the likes of the Guardian and the Times.

Also judging will be Charming Baker, often cited as one of the most dynamic artists of his generation; Mary Simpson, the CEO of Spectrum; and Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, one of the world’s leading experts in understanding autism.

Mr Cohen said: “Charlotte shows us both the desperate and bleak angle to autism, as well as the beautiful side. The video is extremely personal and approachable, not only from the autism viewpoint, but one ‘we’ as all human beings can relate to.”

Ms Craddock added: “With a knowledge of the structure and sense of the regular beat and pattern of early Modern film, Charlotte Amelia Poe brings a film that is both sophisticated and naïve, pure and troubled.”

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