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Kiri Salazar

Grandville, MI, United States

For seventeen years, I have done my best to explain the world to my son, and my son to the world. For the longest time, I would simply shout, “Welcome to Autismland!” as a shorthand to explain his startling behaviors in public. Then, as he got bigger, it just became easier not to go out in public. It wasn’t worth the heartache, the judgment, and the feelings of failure. As long as he has his crayons and room to scribble on his precious calendars, all is right with my son. And though I am grateful that my son is content in his world, this too is problematic, because he has to share the planet with everybody else. And sometimes, this causes conflict. When a child on the spectrum grows big enough to say “No” to the things he does not want to do, negotiating for peace becomes a daily battle. When my son gets mad, he throws things. Sometimes those things are iPads. Sometimes they are sharp and pointy scissors aimed at a classmate, and he gets suspended. My child has no idea that he’s in trouble at all—he’s just happy that he gets to go home! My son is isolated from the normal world. He does not speak its language, nor is he interested in learning it. The schedule in our home is filled with promises of future car rides, calendars, and crayons—repeated week after week, month after month, year after year. So, when you look at my art, I hope you see a deep-seated love, and a mom who wants to give her child his best possible future—even if it means living a life in Autismland, instead of The Land of Normal. I identify as a humorist, a veteran of the Army, and above all else, a single mom to a child on the autism spectrum. I am also a person who struggles with mental health. As a result, I can have a particularly dark view on the world. When times get really bad, I write poetry. Scratch that. At times, I cope by writing really bad poetry. Which, as a humorist, I will point out is probably the saddest confession I can make.

Kiri's ArtPrize Entries

These are Kiri's official ArtPrize entries from this year and past years.

  • Photo of Autism in the Trenches

    Autism in the Trenches

    2021 ArtPrize Entry Kiri Salazar
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