Getting creative for sun bear conservation


(From fourth from right) Chiew, Dr Chian and Jen Studio founder Jen Hor Siow with some of the FIS students who contributed their paintings to the Art Speaks 2017 art exhibition.

(From fourth from right) Chiew, Dr Chian and Jen Studio founder Jen Hor Siow with some of the FIS students who contributed their paintings to the Art Speaks 2017 art exhibition.

OVER 30 students from Fairview International School (FIS) are participating in the “Art Speaks 2017” exhibition at Jen Studio in Taman Tun Dr Ismail.

The exhibition, which ends on March 3, showcases the paintings of students aged 10 to 18 from four FIS campuses across Malaysia, plus those by three established painters, as well as images by a photographer.

Proceeds from the exhibition, which is expected to raise RM10,000, will be donated to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) in Sandakan.

(Right) A painting of a sun bear by one of the FIS students.
A painting of a sun bear by one of the FIS students.

“We love sun bears. They are inherently Malaysia, and they are in trouble,” said FIS Kuala Lumpur principal Dr Vincent Chian during the opening of Art Speaks 2017 on Feb 19.

“People pay attention to the pandas and orang utans, but the sun bears seemed to have been neglected, save for a few people fighting for them,” he added.

Chiew is one of the four local artists who contributed her paintings to the exhibition.
Chiew is one of the four local artists who contributed her paintings to the exhibition.

Stacey Chiew, a visual art teacher at the school, said the students were against people keeping these wild animals as pets, and viewed the wildlife trade as a big threat to sun bears.

“These students have chosen to take action in their own unique way by showing they can and will make a difference,” added Dr Chian.

FIS student Amaliyah Miyazonogi painted a unique piece called Woman with Flowers at Art Speaks 2017. SAMUEL ONG / THE STAR, 19TH FEBRUARY 2017.
FIS student Amaliyah Miyazonogi's unique piece called 'Woman with Flowers'.

Founded in 2008 by wildlife biologist Wong Siew Te, BSBCC’s mission is to carry out detailed research on sun bear conservation and rehabilitation.

The sun bears, also known as honey bears, are an endangered species found in South-East Asia and peninsular Malaysia, as well as Borneo, where they distinct enough to be considered a subspecies.

Jen Studio, which volunteered their venue for Art Speaks 2017, is transitioning into a space that offers artists a chance to rent and display their artwork along with a professional studio.