10 Oct Official Opening: Pieces of Joy
It was an afternoon that would have brought great pride and joy to any parent, to see their child’s art work in a public group exhibition. But these weren’t any ordinary children and young adults – the nine young artists are persons with learning and developmentalÂ difficulties, namely Autism and Down Syndrome.
That the parents were ecstatic, therefore, is immediately easy to understand. And it was a Sunday afternoon that was filled with positive energy, both from the young artists and their parents. Quite aptly entitled “Pieces of Joy”, the official opening of the exhibition definitely brought joy to everyone in attendance.
Jointly organized by Artemis Art and Tutti Art Club, headed by artist Tan See Ling, “Pieces of Joy” showcases 42 works of art from nine artists with learning difficulties. As we mentioned in a previous posting, t is an exhibition that we’ve been wanting to do for a very long time.
The nine artists participating in this exhibition are (view the respective artist’s works, hosted on our Facebook page, by clicking their respective name):
- Bernard (Boon Chen), age 17
- Fitri, age 17
- Jason, age 28
- Ling Yee, age 21
- Nadiah, age 13
- Suen Yi, age 7
- Yuli , age 26
- Zahirra, age 14
- Zahra, age 12
The atmosphere at the opening was certainly one of noticeable joy, on the part of the artists, as well as their parents, family members, and friends who came in full force to support these young talents.
We were very honored to have Yang Mulia Tengku Marina Tengku Ibrahim, Founder and Design Director of Pink Jambuâ„¢, who graciously agreed to be our guest of honor. Tengku Marina has been quite involved with initiatives for the less privileged, and this is the second time in as many years that she has officiated the exhibition for children and young adults under theÂ tutelageÂ of See Ling. Last year’s exhibition was held at Balai Seni Visual Negara, and featured four of the artists participating this year.
See Ling, during her short speech, introduced the nine artists, and gave the audience a quick overview of what the Tutti Art Club aimed at achieving. One aim common with Artemis Art’s was that these artists could display their works as artists, first and foremost. She also expressed the hope that such exhibitions could continue to be held, as they were a tremendous boost to the young artists’ confidence. See Ling uses art as a form of therapy with her LD students, an alternative and a complement to the traditional counselling and life skills training.
Another reason why Artemis Art agreed to host this exhibition was to raise awareness about Learning Difficulties, or LD for short. And for this purpose, we had Mr. Simpson Khoo, an Educational Psychologist, to Â share his own experience. Simpson stated in his address to the audience that the level of awareness in Malaysia is still relatively low.
To illustrate this, Simpson, who was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) while he attended university, shared his experience growing up constantly being labelled as “naughty”, “difficult”, and even the very damaging label of “stupid”. Â He stressed, however, that this was due to the lack of awareness about his learning difficulty during the time he was growing up. Malaysia still has a long way to go in catering to young persons with LD (Learning Difficulties), he added. He was only diagnosed as having ADD when he was studying in university abroad. Simpson now provides assessment and counselling services on a professional basis.
The second speaker at the opening was Ms. Lee Kuan Shin, a Clinical Psychologist, who currently runs a private practice not far from where Artemis Art is, in Solaris Dutamas.
Ms. Lee, herself a parent, gave some very encouraging words to the parents in attendance, stating that she truly applauds their strength and perseverance. Raising children, she said, was difficult enough, and she through her experience counselling parents with LD children, she truly admired the dedication that they show towards ensuring their children grow up in the best possible manner and environment. Ms. Lee said that she felt a lot of positive energy that afternoon, and that was something good that would benefit both the parents and their LD artist children.
Tengku Marina, started her address by pointing out that art has been a means of human communications since ancient times, as evidenced by Stone Age cave drawings uncovered in numerous places around the globe. And in the context of these children and young adults with Learning Difficulties, art, too, is used to communicate their thoughts and feelings.
Tengku Marina, who also opened last year’s “Emerging The Unknown”, the first exhibition organized by Tutti Art Club, said that this exhibition was a laudable and positive effort, and thanked both the club and Artemis Art for putting the exhibition together. Perhaps she, too, felt the joy andÂ exuberant atmosphere of the opening!
Once the plaque was signed, signifying the official opening of the exhibition, Zahra, 12, presented a painting to Tengku Marina, as a token of appreciation. Simpson and Ms. Lee, too, each received a token in the form of a painting, both painted by Fitri.
What’s heartening for us is that the paintings from these nine artists were very well received, with 29 out of the 42 paintings sold during the opening. Even better, each one of the artists sold at least one piece of art work, which is definitely a tremendous boost for their morale, and their desire to continue with their art.
Artemis Art would like to take this opportunity to thank Tan See Ling and Tutti Art Club for being the driving force behind “Pieces of Joy”. Thanks also to Tengku Marina for officially opening the exhibition, and to Mr. Simpson Khoo and Ms. Lee Kuan Shin for agreeing to speak at the event. Not forgetting the parents, who provided the sumptuous food that everyone attending enjoyed, and a special ‘Thank You’ to our dear friends Ms. Catherine Lee and Mr. Michael Lemke for the very delicious cupcakes.
Last, but certainly not least, a big THANK YOU and congratulations to our nine young artists – you have shown that with passion, there is little that can stop the creation of art. And we’re very glad, too, that your Pieces of Joy were very well received, and sold very well.
For more photos of the official opening, you can visit the “Pieces of Joy” photo album via our Facebook page.
The exhibition continues for two weeks until Sunday, October 21, 2012. We hope that those who didn’t manage to make it to the opening do take some time to come pay the gallery a visit to view these wonderful pieces of art.