Article by Jerika Danielle Clemente
Last November 11, Banana Peel and Unilab Foundation showcased a new line of slippers. And these aren’t your ordinary slippers. These slippers were exclusively designed by artists with autism.
The artists with their artworks (L to R: Jorel Alegre, Chico Joaquin, Samantha Kaspar, Vico Cham, Daniel Sanchez )
Not only were they created to awe us, but they’re also there to change the world one pair of slippers at a time.
Photo from Banana Peel’s Facebook page
Why through art? Well, why not? Through art, these artists are able to communicate a part of who they are, a part of their story and most importantly that they are part of this world we live in – all without having to speak or fully interact with other people.
One of the artists, Daniel Sanchez, has a hard time speaking. As far as his mother remembers, Daniel started using art as a way to communicate his favorite movies and many more. And every time his mom shows him a picture, he goes on his way and creates his own masterpieces based on his interpretation of them.
Daniel and his mother, showing his different renditions of a family picture
Another artist, Jorel Alegre, creates art because it relaxes him. He also loves making art in his own way.
Jorel and his family being show pride in his artwork “Rainbow Wings”
Knowing these things makes us understand them more and makes us appreciate the stories and reasons behind their art. Their masterpieces on these slippers, as well as their artwork, are testimonies that people with special needs do not need to be excluded. As Jorel says, “Differently abled we may be, we can also stand out.”.
Other masterpieces by the artists that were also on display throughout the event
Through Project Inclusion, Unilab Foundation and Banana Peel hope to spread awareness and be one of the proprietors of a more inclusive Philippines, which sees our special needs brothers and sisters as equals who are special in their own way.
So you see, there’s more to these slippers than just art: it’s the advocacy of inclusion and the art of being special in your own way that makes it a one-of-a-kind buy.
You (yes, you!) can also be part of the change that our country has yet to see. There are tons of ways for you to do this, such as by supporting this advocacy and buying one or two pairs of these exclusive slippers. Each pair costs about Php430-440, and works as a great present for your loved ones, as well (Christmas time is upon us, after all!). Besides, buying slippers for a good cause will give you so much more than just your money’s worth!
BananaPeelxProjectInclusion slippers from left to right: Wow Philippines, Flowers and Butterflies, Mother and Child, Rainbow Wings, Under The Sea (Photos from Banana Peel’s Facebook Page)
This is just the first wave, too! Unilab Foundation encourages other talented artists with special needs to contact them and get a chance to be part of project inclusion!
Unilab Foundation Philippines
Banana Peel Philippines