International Journal of Art & Design Education

The Original Art of Mentally-Handicapped People

Volume 5.1   1986



Creativity is a general human quality and is a positive force in the organisation and integration of the personality. Creative expression is very important in gaining self-esteem and self-understanding amongst the mentally handicapped. Drawing upon experiences of working at Sterrenberg, a Dutch publicly funded residential community for mentally handicapped adults,the paper underlines the value of helping facilitate artistic creativity amongst the mentally handicapped. The helper is engaged in guiding and is concerned with facilitating personal growth (Gestaltwerdung). This can occur most effectively when there is mutual respect, empathy and an inspiring ambience. The visual world of the mentally handicapped is described as fascinating, rich, and intensive.