PRIDE: Bits of Pictures and Bobs of Thoughts — Ahko’s Life in Sketches Exhibition

“Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” (John 6:12)

The exhibition is a collection of fragments from the daily life of cartoonist and illustrator Ahko in the last 10 years. The earliest sketches were drawn to communicate with his toddler son, who was found to have ASD at an early age. The latest sketches are from the past few years, when he found it difficult to communicate with his son after his wife passed away. These sketches failed to bridge his connection to his son, but instead became a way for Ahko to express and understand his own emotions.

The sketches are all impromptu works, accompanied by audio clips capturing Ahko’s recollections upon revisiting them. Every sketch-voice pair tells a story from their deeply entwined lives as father-and-son: the complex emotions of life with ASD, the helplessness and confusion, their brotherhood, and the fear of pain in intimacy. The intensity exceeds even the most codependent romantic relationships.

Each piece of paper records a snippet from the past with vivid details. Ahko movingly tells his personal story with artistic sensitivity. The complex experience of his ASD family is at once a personal journey, as well as a resonating shared narrative for families with similar conditions.