Disabled youth finds niche in art

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 18 Oct 2012

Gifted touch: Gan putting the finishing touches to his latest painting called The Red Old Building.

BALIK PULAU: Louis Gan never took art lessons but picked up drawing skills by watching videos and trying to paint on canvas.

He only realised he had artistic talent when he came in second at the Malaysian-Japanese Art Competition and Exhibition in 2003. He was 16.

“Since then he has not let his hearing and speech disabilities stop him from going to college to get a diploma in graphic design,” said Gan's younger brother Yee Chun, 24, interpreting his sibling's sign language during an interview at their home here.

In 2008, Gan, a Star Education Fund scholarship recipient, obtained a certificate in graphic design from Johor Baru Polytechnic.

Pursuing his ambition further, he obtained a diploma from KDU College in Penang.

Gan, 25, who is a freelance artist, said his favourite medium was acrylic paint and water colour.

One of his recent art pieces is an acrylic painting titled The Red Old Building, a Jalan Sungai Ujong street scene which he completed in three days.

He has also done a mural for a cafe in Kuala Lumpur, themed The Deep Sea, which he took about two weeks to finish in May.

Gan, who loves painting heritage buildings, portraits and doing caricatures, said he gets his inspiration by visiting art galleries and exhibitions.

Among his favourite artists are Penang-born Ch'ng Kiah Kiean, Khoo Cheang Jin and caricature artist Jason Seiler from the United States.

He now aspires to have his own art gallery and take part in international art exhibitions to gain more experience and learn new techniques.

Gan said the most important thing he has learnt in pursuing his ambition is not to give up.

“As long as we continue to work towards our dreams, I believe opportunities will present themselves and people will notice our effort and hard work,” he said.

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