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January 2011



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Mustafa Al-Rahman, 20, of Montgomery, who is autistic, has had his artwork selected for a custom-made U.S. postage stamp.Times Herald-Record/JEFF GOULDING

Art by man with autism to be featured on stamp

MONTGOMERY — A painting by an autistic student from Orange County AHRC in Campbell Hall is now being featured on postage stamps that may be ordered online.

“The Road” was painted by 20-year-old Mustafa Al-Rahman of Montgomery. He attends classes at AHRC, an organization that serves people with developmental disabilities.

“Mustafa is very talented,” said Elizabeth Brown, Al-Rahman’s art teacher. Al-Rahman completed his painting of a simple road cutting through the woods during two of his weekly classes. Brown submitted the acrylic painting in a regional contest. The winning painting was to be used on a custom-made, 44-cent stamp commemorating the 60th anniversaries of the New York state and Westchester ARC.

Artwork was submitted from five regional ARCs: Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Dutchess. The selection committee from Gallery 265, an art gallery in Westchester, chose “The Road” as the winner.

“I like painting, martial arts and video games,” said Al-Rahman, who lives with his parents and older siblings. He said he has been drawing since age 5.

“He really cannot explain why he paints what he does,” said his mother, Catherine. “He creates whatever is in his head.”

Al-Rahman’s older brother, Yusuf, said he believes Mustafa’s artistic talents compensate for his developmental delays. And his father, Muhammad, said his son draws with a great amount of detail.

“He drew a skeleton once and hardly left out a bone,” he said.

Since winning the contest, Al-Rahman’s social sphere has broadened. Last week, he attended an AHRC 60th-anniversary event in Albany, where he met Albany Mayor Gerald Jennings and state Sen. Ron Canestrari. He also was interviewed by a cable TV news station. And his painting is hanging prominently in Gallery 265.


The Winning Stamp

Title: “The Road”
Submitted by: Orange County AHRC

To buy “The Road” stamps or other paraphernalia with Mustafa Al-Rahman’s paintings on them, go to the Westchester ARC’s Web site at http://www.westchesterarc.org/. Scroll down and click on Al-Rahman’s postage stamp. Follow the prompts given at the bottom of the page.


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