Kenny was diagnosed at 2 with autism, but he has never stopped reaching for the next mountain to conquer. He continually pushes himself to overcome challenges of mobility and speech while working on his social and cognitive skills. Those who have met Kenny always walk away refreshed from the values he imbues - simplicity, patience, perseverance, humility, and graciousness.
While Kenny is a multi-faceted individual with many loves, art holds a special seat in his heart. He has been painting for over 10 years and his canvases are filled with zest and life, expressing his sense of joy and hope. He won a silver award for his art at the Singapore Youth Festival Competition in 2009.
When I was a student at Pathlight School, I really loved art. My teachers and parents admired my drawings and I was always getting compliments from strangers. My mother signed me up for art classes and I have been getting instruction from my art teacher for more than seven years. I truly believe that my special skill is a gift from God.
To me, art is a joyous therapy. I feel happy and at the same time peaceful. When I work at creating a piece of art, it feels like I have entered another world - a world that is calm, quiet and patient.
I am inspired by flowers, fruits and scenery. I like experimenting and challenging myself with exotic subjects. When I complete a painting, I feel a strong sense of satisfaction. My artworks are like my treasure box. I look at them and see the progress from my first painting to my present work. I see the development of my skill and my paintings also tell me a lot about how I've learned to be more patient with myself and the world in general.
A moderately autistic 17-year-old with significant language delays, Sebastien is a self-taught artist who has been painting with water colours since he was 12. He found a rare sanctuary in this art and he derives visceral pleasure from unleashing broad strokes of rainbow colours on canvas. Over the last two years, his works were displayed at the Very Special Art Exhibition in July 2012 and La Salle Art College’s ARTISM in February–March 2013. Sebastien generously donates 30% of the income from his sold works to “A Mother’s Wish”(www.awakeningminds.sg), a campaign initiated by his mother to provide affordable programmes for youths and adults with autism.
Sebastien expresses his uniqueness not only with the colours on the canvas, but also on speed skates. Don’t be surprised if you catch Sebastien showing off his signature moves to some funky tunes!
For more information about Sebastien and to view online portfolios of his artworks, please visit this site: http://www.awakeningminds.sg/sebs_raw_art.html
For enquiries about art and related matters, please contact Kah Ying at [email protected]
Siao Siang was born with brain injury and sensory challenges, but exhibited a huge love for the arts ever since he was little. In May 2011, Siao Siang had his first solo exhibition “Beautiful Wild Animals” which was officially launched by former President of Timor Leste Jose Ramos-Horta. He also illustrated a children’s book “Hey, I know you” by Gracia Lim, published in December 2010, and was awarded the bronze in the Singapore Youth Festival Competition in 2008.
Currently working as a visual and product artist, Siao Siang strives to find opportunities to develop his potential and express his creativity in visual art.
Born with brain injury, Eng Sheng's major problem is speech. However, he compensates this with great mobility and good hand-eye coordination, and loves to run, sew, and draw. Creativity and imagination have also fueled his impressive ability to build objects out of humble Lego blocks. Without supervision, he has created see-saws, windmills, propellers and sailboats just by studying images from books and television. He also loves listening to songs in both Mandarin and English.
Eng Sheng discovered an avenue to creatively express himself when he started art classes with Very Special Arts in 2005. To date, his art works have been exhibited and sold on various occasions.
Ping Lian is Malaysian residing in Sydney, Australia. He started out as a hyperactive boy living in his own world without affection or awareness of danger, and was unable to hold a pencil to write or use a scissor to cut. To strengthen and develop his fine motor skills, Ping Lian’s home program focused on tracing and coloring activities. These also helped to occupy him given that he was unable to appropriately engage in any leisure or socialization skills. Eventually, tracing was the catalyst for discovering his exceptional art talent.
Ping Lian is now a talented artist full of love and affection. Through his mother’s perseverance, he has also been nurtured into an obedient, hardworking, and grateful boy. He may still be limited in his communication and social skills, but art is his outlet of vivid expression. In fact, many art enthusiasts and collectors have been won over by his unique style of bold strokes and cheerful colours. Ping Lian continues to create magnificent works of art using charcoal, acrylic, water color, ink and oil. His art works have been featured in exhibitions in the United States, UK, Australia, Germany, Japan and Malaysia.
Find out more about Ping Lian here!
To contact Ping Lian directly, please write to: Sarah Lee at [email protected]
Tung Seng was 3 years old when he was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder Spectrum, but this did not stop him from developing and pursuing a keen focus in art. He went on to exhibit his artwork at the International Art Expo in Kuala Lumpur in 2007 and since 2009, has taken up painting on canvas at My Art Space. Tung Seng’s paintings are intricate with color and cheer. He likes to create detailed artworks of drum sets, buildings and vehicles, where his favourite themes are cityscapes and public transportation. Currently enrolled at Temasek Polytechnic, he is a first-year student studying media and interactive technology, and hopes to be an engineer one day.
A Handicraft Collective by Looi Siao Siang, Khor Eng Sheng, and Gwendolene Chia
“Persistence and Determination are what they have,
Failing and falling are part of their daily routine,
Getting up and trying again and again is what they do,
Hope lights up each time as they inch closer to victory,
as they make it through another day!”
-Mother of a Gentle Hero
The Gentle Heroes is a group of young adults with multiple challenges who are determined to live purposeful driven lives.The mothers work alongside with these youths with dedication and patience, training them to be independent and productive.
These young hopefuls learn to bake, cook, paint and do housekeeping as their daily training. Besides sewing and craftwork, they learn different musical instruments as enrichment program. Some have even taken up the skill of using the computer as a learning tool.
Through these crafts they produced (80% independently), they hope to create awareness that inability is limited by what you think you can’t. Choose “I CAN”. They did.