Mall and NGO hold special exhibition to provide opportunities for the learning disabled


By ERIK NG

(From left) Yeoh, Kok Xuan, Sunway Group Brand Marketing and Communications general manger Sharzede S. Askor, Beng, Juairiah and Sunway University Art and Design faculty head Augustine Wong. — Photos: LOW BOON TAT/The Star

YOU CAN lend support to 15 students from the Generating Opportunities for the Learning Disabled (Gold) association by viewing their soon-to-be- exhibited artworks at Sunway Pyramid, in Petaling Jaya.

Themed “Beautiful Minds”, the Gold Art Exhibition 2015 is a collaborative effort between Sunway Group, Sunway Institute for Social Entrepreneurship and Sunway Pyramid.

Foong Kok Xuan, one of the students, showed off his painting F for Ferry which features the letter “F” filled with various objects starting with it.

The letter was chosen as the subject of his piece because it the initial of his surname.

Another student, David Beng Keong, chose to use abstract art for his piece, Night Beat, that depicts his interpretation of a city at night.

“Painting allows special-needs students an avenue to express their feelings and conversely a window for us to better understand them,” said Gold founder Juairiah Johari.

Gold aims to help special needs children to maximise their potential in society and started off as a class at SMK Bandar Sunway in 1990.

“Back then, I realised that my class was short on volunteers and funds required to run my activities.

“Thankfully, Sunway Group took notice of my cause and has been supporting it ever since,” said Juairiah said, adding that the non-governmental organisation was formally registered in 2006.

She also said that Gold’s syllabus, following the guidelines set by the National Curriculum for Special Needs, comprised academic subjects such as Bahasa Malaysia and English, while the remaining modules focus on soft skills development, painting being one of them.

The painting lessons were brought to the attention of Sunway University Art and Design department head Augustine Wong, who believes the students have the potential to further hone their artistic skills.

“A thought occurred to me that if the university trains them, why not go a step further and help them achieve public recognition?

“By the fourth week of class, I was pleased to see that their attention span had increased.

“Therefore, I proposed that more advanced techniques be taught to them so that they could showcase their works in an art exhibition,” Wong shared.

Sunway University lecturer Yeoh Kean Thai said he designed a learning environment that encourages students to engage in interaction and imagination because these two elements are vital for any aspiring artists.

“Normally, they come in front of the whiteboard and try to visualise an object that I name.

“Later, I present them with my visual interpretation for comparison,” Yeoh said, adding that the students, for the most part, are left unguided.

Running until Dec 20, the exhibition will held at the Lower Ground 2 floor in the shopping centre’s West Wing.

If you are an art collector, you might be interested to know some of the exhibited artworks are for sale, priced between RM880 and RM1,000. Admission is free.

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