An exhibit featuring paintings by 22 year old Yukoner Anna Thompson is currently on display at the Atco Electric Yukon Youth Centre Art Gallery.

Thompson has a cognitive disability as a result of a brain injury as a baby which left her with cerebral palsy – and is a prolific and enthusiastic artist, says her grandmother, Joy Morgan.

Cerebral palsy is a disorder caused by abnormalities in or damage to the brain and results in a variety of health issues, including impaired motor skills, sensory impairments, tremors and muscle weakness. It often arises very early in childhood.

Colour – and her love of it – are primarily what interests Thompson as a subject to paint, Morgan says.

“Anna see colours differently than I do, than other people do,” Morgan says. “Colours are her best friends.”

The pleasure Thompson’s takes in colours and her passion for painting is self-derived, Morgan says. She has been painting for years and is self-taught. She works in acrylics on canvas and board. This show is a selection of 12 works from the many she has created over the last two years. Her paintings feature many bright, often joyful colours and are done in an abstract, impressionistic style.

“She’s been painting steadily for years. It just came naturally to her,” Morgan says.

The show, which opened Feb. 9, has had a positive impact on Thompson’s self-image, Morgan says.

“She’s very impressed. It’s been a big self esteem booster and a confidence-builder… she’s really happy to have done something that has drawn so many people,” Morgan notes.

Thompson has a variety of other interests aside from painting, her grandmother says. She enjoys bowling, bocce, soccer, and swimming, and also plays the piano. She is a graduate of the Vanier Catholic Secondary School and is very active within the Special Olympics Community. Like her love of painting, these interests all come naturally to Thompson.

“Her future is very bright as long as she has the right people with her,” Morgan says. “She’s really doing very well. She wants to move forward, always move forward.”

This show has already opened up some new doors for Thompson, says Morgan. Thompson has recently received an invitation from the Yukon Arts Centre to present her second show with them next year, in 2018.

Thompson’s current show can be seen until Feb. 25. The gallery is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and is closed on Sundays. Admission is optional and by donation. For more information visit www.YukonArtsCentre/Gallery.