Jean-Louis Hétu is a thirteen-year old boy with autism who commenced painting at the age of eight. It was at this time that the need for an activity to restore his mental health, self-esteem and general well-being was identified. Jean-Louis found that activity in art, particularly in the medium of painting. Through painting, Jean-Louis was not only able to gradually recover his health, but also his ability to concentrate for progressively longer periods in order to complete required academic and learning tasks.
Highlights of this artistic journey is First Prize Disabled Category in the 2012 Port Adelaide Rotary Art Show for the painting, “I Was Happy At Five” and Second Prize in the Under-15 Category in the 2013 Port Adelaide Rotary Art Show for the painting "I Am The Wind". Jean-Louis has also been recognised for his drawings through a Merit Award for his "Monster" drawing at the 2013 Royal Adelaide Show.
Jean-Marie Hétu is the father and carer of his son Jean-Louis Hétu. Jean-Marie first commenced painting five years ago in order to learn how to paint for the purpose of home-schooling his son. However, he soon realised that art, and in particular painting, was a great source of relaxation and contributed to his personal development. Painting gradually turned into an activity of great personal interest and was a wonderful outlet to the routine of restoring Jean-Louis’ health and general well-being. Jean-Marie immersed his son in a rich learning environment utilising all the tools and techniques that he had acquired along the way.
Jean-Marie has been working on paintings of the people who have been involved with Jean-Louis’ journey. It serves as a record of the events and objects that have been an integral part of his son’s journey with autism and the empowerment that has been gained through painting.