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Saturday July 12, 2008

Special artist shows the way ...

NEW YORK-based artist Leon Lim may be hearing impaired but that has not stopped him from charting international success.

The Kedah-born was recently in Penang to give a presentation of his work to art collectors and heritage conservationists.

A former student of the Federation School for the Deaf in Tanjung Bungah, Penang, Lim went on to further his studies at the prestigious Rochester Institute of Technology in New York and has not looked back since.

“I am currently working on the Contemporary George Town Project. The inner city keeps changing and those who just moved in do not have the opportunity to learn about life in the early days.

Lim (right) showing state Tourism, Culture, Arts and Hertage Committee chairman Danny Law his work.

“George Town will keep on changing and this project seeks to reflect the creative assimilation of people into their living space,” he said, adding that the project would include organising performances, conferences and art exhibitions.

“I want to inspire young artists and turn George Town into a contemporary, creative hub with opportunities for artists and handicraft makers to highlight their works,” he said, adding that the many art competitions he won as a child had inspired him to become an artist.

“Living in Penang exposed me to a colourful world of rich history, architecture, art and culture.

“After completing secondary school, I didn’t know what to do with my life because there were not many opportunities for contemporary artists – what more one who was deaf,” the freelance artist said, adding that through perseverance, he managed to secure an international scholarship to continue his studies.

“Today, I live and work in Manhattan as a graphic designer, web designer and photographer for a fashion house.

“I have been accepted to do my post-graduate studies in interactive telecommunications there and am trying to get a scholarship,” he said.

His former principal Datuk Selena Yahaya said she was “very impressed” with Lim’s achievements.

“He has shown so much initiative to get to where he is today and I am very proud of him.

“Lim is a testament that the hearing impaired community can be successful if given proper guidance and education,” she said.

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