High school student with autism has painting in Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Jake Pierson NY Daily News

Amoako Buachie, 18, a gifted autistic artist from Flatbush, first featured in Brooklyn News last December, will have one of his paintings displayed in the world-famous Metropolitan Museum of Art next month.

"When I do my artwork, I feel very excited inside when I use bright colors to express myself," Buachie wrote in a message attached to his brown-and-blue watercolor portrait titled "My Friend Andre." "I love to draw and paint."

Buachie's portrait is one of 75 pieces from K-12 public school students citywide that were selected from among 800 to hang in the Met, as part of the Department of Education's annual P.S. Art program.

"Being an artist makes me feel very special and talented," Buachie wrote.

A 12th-grader at Public School 370 in Brighton Beach, Buachie suffered from aggressive midnight fits and tantrums that caused him to yell so loudly neighbors called police.

"Before, he was fighting me in the morning, and he wouldn't go to sleep at night," said mom Akosua Mainu, 46, a housecleaner who immigrated to Brooklyn from Ghana 15 years ago.

But after working with the special needs school in February, Mainu got her son placed in a smaller class with four other students where extra attention is placed on artwork and Buachie's fits have since stopped.

"He's doing great now," said Mainu. "I see so much improvement... it is not as before."

Buachie can stay at PS 370 until he is 21, and while there can continue to practice art, study the art business and work on general social skills.

It was actually a social class exercise on maintaining eye contact - a skill that is often a struggle for autistic children - that resulted in Buachie's acclaimed portrait.

His art teacher, Audrey Lacy, sat students directly across from one another and instructed them to maintain eye contact, telling Buachie and others to draw the person across from them.

"Amoako made really good sustained eye contact and based on the way he was looking at [Andre] he made a very accurate portrait of him," said Lacy, 25, who works with Buachie three times a week.

When she saw the final product, Lacy knew she had to submit the watercolor to the P.S. Art competition.

"He's so creative and very talented," said Lacy. "Art is his outlet, and he's very proud of himself."

The painting will be on display at the Met from June 8 to Aug. 8.
"It's the greatest feeling," said his mom.
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