By Kymberlee Fernandes of Stuff

Charlize stands with her painting

She might only be 13, but one of her artworks has already earned almost $3000.

Charlize Wilson  was named the winner of the  2018 IHC Art Awards People’s Choice Award from the 400 art entries across the country.

The South Auckland Middle School student says art helps her “be herself”.

“I like doing art because it’s so much fun,” she says.

Her painting is called Looking Out from the Inside.

“The art is just a person looking outside. She is happy, she likes the view a lot,” Charlize explains.

Her award includes $1,000 in prize money, but then collected a further $1,650 after the piece was auctioned.

When Charlize found out she won, she says she  felt like “a superstar”.

Her parents say she’s been singing and dancing ever since she could walk and first started drawing and painting at eight.

She’s been surrounded by that kind of environment – music, performing arts, her dad Petia Wilson says.

“It was probably natural for her to just pick up a brush and paint. I’m really impressed and happy for her.”

The IHC Art Awards have run since 2004 and is open to all New Zealanders with an intellectual disability, age 13 or over.

Thirty of the top artworks were selected by judges Jae Kang, Tim Walker and Sarah Wilkins where the winner of the  People’s Choice category was then selected by way of online public voting.

Charlize will join her dad in his upcoming art exhibition where she will contribute some abstract art pieces. Her next work will be about a girl looking at her phone.

Her mum, Caroline, says Charlize has always been good with colours and the canvas is an opportunity for her to showcase her world.

“Because of the fact that she has Down Syndrome, she sees things quite differently,” she says.

“It’s exciting because it gives us an insight into her world, and maybe explains the colours, the strokes and the angles.”

There are plans to eventually build a collection that revolves around the theme of a girl looking through.

“It gives a different angle of the world.”

Copyright: Stuff