‘No Fear’-Autism allows her to be brave.


A young artist from Romford is going on display this week in the Mercury Mall.  Opal Cangil, who celebrates her 24th birthday on 13th August, will be exhibiting a selection of her original canvasses at the Daniel’s View exhibition space on the third floor of the Mercury Mall, from Thursday 12th August.

Opal has Asperger’s, making it hard for her to clearly transmit thoughts and feelings in real time. She also has dyslexia, a reading condition. By using her love of art and design, she used the ‘strengths’ of Asperger’s and dyslexia to build up a series of detailed electronic creations that she has transferred onto canvass.

For the last two years, she has been supported by local Autism charity Sycamore Trust UK, which operates the Autism Hub in Romford’s Liberty Centre.  Opal is a valued member of a couple of social and support groups and has also published her own colouring book, entitled ‘Tom and Ruby’s Adventure’s’ specially designed for children with special needs.

The exhibition has benefitted from the support of local arts group Havering Changing, an Arts Council England Creative People and Places project which supports people living and working in Harold Hill, Orchard Village, Rainham and Romford to create and take part in their own their programme of inspiring arts and culture.

Opal has entitled her exhibition ‘No Fear’ as she believes that there are many different people out there that should have their positives celebrated and her Autism allows her to be brave and have No Fear.  This is her first exhibition, and she is delighted to go on display at Daniel’s View. She said; 

​“I am forever grateful to the Sycamore Trust, Havering Changing and the Romford Mercury Centre for offering me this opportunity to help people on the Autism spectrum become more visible to the general public and showcase what we can do, not just what we can’t.”

Opal views art as a way to express herself as an Autistic person. She continued; 

“Hopefully, it shows how it feels to be a little bit different and may encourage people to be a little more patient and kind. Please learn more about the Sycamore Trust and how it can help you and your business too”.

Opal has been taking part in Sycamore’s peer group for young adults and also the craft group for young ladies since 2019.  The charity offers a range of services for families and individuals for whom Autism is part of daily life and has been running the Autism Hub drop-in centre since 2015. Sycamore’s Steve Dixon told the Havering Daily:

​“We’re really looking forward to seeing Opal’s work on display.  We know how talented she is and we’re delighted to see her work on display to a wider audience.  We’re really grateful to Havering Changing and the Mercury for giving us the opportunity to showcase just how much talent there is among the Autistic community.”

Julia Stallard covers the Romford area for Havering Changing.  She commented:

​“Havering Changing are delighted to support Opal in this exhibition, which will help to raise awareness of the brilliant work of The Sycamore Trust and The Autism Hub in Romford. We are hoping Opal might lead some workshops in the autumn to help others unleash their creativity!”

No Fear runs from Thursday 12th to Sunday 22nd Aug at Daniel’s View on Level 3 of the Mercury Mall.

For more about Havering Changing, click here; https://www.haveringchanging.org/

For more about Sycamore Trust UK, click here; http://www.sycamoretrust.org.uk/

Opal at the Mercury Mall with her artwork.

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