I cannot even begin to describe the amount of love I have for this picture! It speaks a lot to me, and, when I read the description, I just teared up a little! Thank you for sharing this amazing artwork!
It's very beautiful!!! I have heard that children with autism struggle a lot to comprehend facial expressions; is that for this reason that the eyes of these characters do not show the pupil? The pupil would make the eyes more expressive, but maybe for these children ...a source of stress.
Octopuses, left alone in an aquarium like fish will go insane. There has been a huge movement among aquarium keepers and hobbyists to provide enrichment for their animals in the form of toys. It sounds sort of hokey but an octopus with just a couple of rocks in a small tank will never get the sort of mental stimulation their brains require, and will get Cage Psychosis, similar to what a parrot or other birds experience in the same situations.
When I was keeping octopuses at the NRCC (National Resource Center for Cephalopods) I used to take an old film can and put some marbles in it, then seal the top and drop it in the tank. It would bob really low in the water and the octopus would approach cautiously, then grab it, shoot right toward the bottom of the tank, then let it go and watch it float up. Almost every single octopus would do this, with one moving the canister to the downfall spout on the water circulation system, then following it as the rushing water carried it to the bottom of the tank, then moving it to where the rebound current was the fastest and racing it to the top.
The Primary Investigator on the project would build Lego submarines and fill them with shrimp and let the octopuses take them apart to get at the food. After they had eaten, they would play with the remaining whole parts of the sub, often pushing it around on the surface with water jets from their siphons.