With his flexible, long and slender girlish fingers, Sawada slowly fixes thorns to his sculpture one by one. He sometimes laughs from joy and then continues to work in silence. His wonderful sculptures have already fascinated many.
It is still unknown whether he imitates an image he sees in his mind, or simply does what his instinct tells him. He works calmly and rhythmically, without hesitation, suggesting that the has a vision of what the finished sculpture will look like. He can finish large sculptures in just four or five days. The baking of the clay is done by employees of the institution. Sawada is autistic, was born with a congenital handicap and barely speaks. He now works as a baker in an institution for people with intellectual disabilities and he visits the pottery about twice a week. His art was part of the exhibition ‘Art Brut du Japon’ (2008-2009) and is included in the ‘Collection de l’Art Brut’ in Lausanne.
© Photo’s: Wellcome Trust
© Portrait: Satoshi Takaishi & Nobuo Onishi