Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 16, No. 2, 2017
  Current Issue  
  Back Issues  
Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Bernard Dubé
  Contributing Editors
David Solway
Louis René Beres
Nancy Snipper
Nick Catalano
Lynda Renée
Jordan Adler
Andrew Hlavacek
Daniel Charchuk
Samuel Burd
Farzana Hassan
Betsy L. Chunko
Andrée Lafontaine
Marissa Consiglieri de Chackal
  Music Editors
Emanuel Pordes
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Emanuel Pordes
  Past Artists
  Armand Vaillancourt
Les Cosgrove
Gustavo Sigal
Guy Benson
Eric Bertrand
Lyne Bastien
Kapal Harnal
Nguyen Tai
Magdalena Magiera
Charles Malinksy
Marc Fortier
Bernard Dubé
Remigio Valdes de Hoyos
Mylène Gervais
Christina Coleman
Laura Hollick
Louise Jalbert
Rosemary Scanlon
Manitoba Art
The Gambaroffs
Francine Hébert
Marcel Dubois
Ruben Cukier
Raka B. Saha
Purivs Young
William Kinnis & Dominique Tremblay
Gudrun Vera Hjartardottir
Gee's Bend Quilt Collective
Magie Dominic
Ryan McLelland
John Gordon
William Noguera
Manita Shine
Ken Matsumoto
Amy Bernays
Howard Finster
Owen York
Rena Meren
David Moore
Carol R. Scott
Bhupat Dudi
Bryce & Sprawka
Saul Bolaños
Florin Hategan
Tammy Ruggles
Chris Gray
Tim Gao
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

virtual museum of autistic art -- a mady bourdages initiative

reviewed by


April is the month of Autism. TAWA ART is an initiative conceived by artist Marie Bourdages, known as Mady, which invites artists on the spectrum to showcase their work online, meet other artists struggling with similar challenges, develop a community and hopefully find art lovers to buy some original art.

I asked Marie (Mady) to tell me more about the project in the hopes of giving TAWA ART more visibility and public recognition.

LYDIA SCHRUFER: Can you tell me a little bit about your project?

MADY: The project for autistic artists came from my own issues with autism, which manifest as difficulty socializing and panic about meeting people. A career as an artist requires meeting people to promote my work, so I passed up many opportunities because I'm afraid of people and can't decode their signals. When I began the project, I spoke with many other artists and discovered that we all had the same problem – leaving the house and socializing is a real challenge. A virtual gallery on a website seemed an ideal solution, as the artwork can be shared with the whole world. I'm working very diligently to promote TAWA ART. My strength is the Internet, which is easy for me and doesn't cause me anxiety because there isn't any physical interaction required.

LS: When did you discover that you were autistic?

MADY: I've struggled with the challenges of socializing and obsessive circular thinking all my life, but four years ago I had a fortuitous meeting with a woman whose husband has Asperger syndrome. When she visited me at home and saw how I lived, she suggested I should seek help because she suspected I was autistic. I had previously, in 1988, been given an incorrect diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. But finally, after many doctors and counselors, a specialized psychiatrist diagnosed autism. I finally had an explanation for the limitations I'd experienced throughout my life. I am unable to work in a standard job, but the psychiatrist did insist on the importance of my painting, which in his words, keeps me from developing clinical depression.

LS: How, if at all, does autism impact your painting?

MADY: My painting is my connection to the world. I understand myself and my surroundings through painting. Visual art is my language, and it’s how I communicate and socialize. TAWA ART is a way to publicize my work without the anxiety of physical socializing.

LS: How can other artists participate in your project? Are participating artists selected? Is it by jury or by being in touch with an autism support group or registry?

MADY: Autistic artists of any age or nationality are welcome to participate. My goal is to introduce and publicize the TAWA ART website and make it accessible to as many artists as possible. The project is endorsed by the Quebec and Canadian Autism societies, and since April is Autism month, they will promote the TAWA ART website. There is no fee for exhibiting on the site, but I will charge a 20% sales commission, of which 5% will go to Autisme de l'Est du Quebec and 15% to myself for the work of maintaining the website.

LS: How can artists get in touch with your project?

MADY: Artists can contact me through the website, e-mail or Facebook

LS: If the public wanted to contribute funds, how would they get in touch?

MADY: Contributions are welcome and necessary because I will need help for the first year for publicity to promote the website. Interested donors can contact me at

LS: How will you notify the public about exhibitions?

MADY: Social media is a powerful tool that can reach millions and there will surely be developments from an exhibition showing in France and California called Art of AUTISM. I'll also be working hard to contact many autism organizations around the world. The Internet affords wonderful possibilities. A project is already in development with Online Auction -- Paul’s International.



Email (optional)
Author or Title








Help Haiti
Film Ratings at Arts & Opinion - Montreal
2016 Festival Nouveau Cinema de Montreal, Oct. 05-16st, (514) 844-2172
Montreal World Film Festival
Lynda Renée: Chroniques Québécois - Blog
Andrew Hlavacek - Arts & Culture Blog (Montreal)
© Roberto Romei Rotondo
Montreal Guitar Show July 2-4th (Sylvain Luc etc.). border=
2013 Montreal Chamber Music Festival
Photo by David Lieber:
Valid HTML 4.01!
Privacy Statement Contact Info
Copyright 2002 Robert J. Lewis