By Jessica O’Donovan The 2015 As We Are art award and exhibition is giving artists with an intellectual disability the opportunity to showcase their work to potential buyers and the wider Perth community. The event was created by As We Are, a Perth-based community initiative that works to create equal opportunity for artists with intellectual disabilities. “It’s primarily about the artists and their artwork. By exhibiting their artwork, their creative expression makes a contribution to society,” says As We Are coordinator Susie Waller. As We Are was initiated in 2002 as a one-off art award and exhibition but has since expanded to become a significant annual event and initiative within the Perth art community. “Some of the artists have gone on to have solo exhibitions and some have exhibited interstate and internationally so it’s been a real opportunity for them,” says Ms Waller. Nulsen Disability Services is a gold sponsor of As We Are and works to enable people with disabilities to lead an ideal life while maintaining their wellbeing in the Perth region. The business provides 30 supported living homes across the metropolitan area and has multiple residents taking part in the exhibition. “For us, it’s important that people with complex disabilities are enabled to live a life with opportunity and are able to participate in things such as art exhibitions that allow them to use their creativity,” says Nulsen spokesperson James Allbeury. “It’s about allowing them to be a part of a more accepting community.” The As We Are event not only aims to support artists with an intellectual disability but those who are part of the experience. “It’s an opportunity for the artist’s support network of family and friends to see their value and talent. Often we will get people come to opening to see the work for the first time and find their son or daughter has won an award – I think it really opens their eyes to what talent they have,” says Susie Waller. All of the entries are currently being showcased to the public and potential buyers for two weeks as a free event in Perth City.