Showing bravery through art

Yap with a picture co-created by several of the children and their teacher at the Art for Rare, Celebrate Creativity and Courage exhibition at GMBB Kuala Lumpur. — Photos: SHAARI CHEMAT/The Star

Children with rare diseases stage own exhibition in KL

RARE diseases did not stop eight children and youths from embarking on their art journey.

In fact, art has helped them cope with their diseases and given them a means to express themselves.

Some 90 of their artworks are being showcased at the “Art for Rare, Celebrate Creativity and Courage”, exhibition at The Grey Box on the ground floor of GMBB Kuala Lumpur.

FriendenArts managing partner Yap Sook Yee said the exhibition gave them an opportunity to tell their story through art.

“The eight of them underwent a three-month programme by three professional artists.

Some of the children’s artworks produced with guidance from professional artists.Some of the children’s artworks produced with guidance from professional artists.

“One of my sons, Branden, has spinal muscular atrophy (Type 1), dyslexia and dyscalculia. He paints while lying down.

“Other children in the exhibition have their own unique conditions.

“Travelling for them is a challenge, so the professional artists went to their homes to teach them.

“It took nine months to curate the artworks that are now in the Art for Rare exhibition.

“Being able to paint and sell their works gives the children a sense of pride and also an opportunity to discover themselves.

“The artworks range from mix medium, acrylic and watercolour to collage.

“We also have notebooks for sale. They make perfect gifts,” said Yap.

She added that some of the artists were visually impaired due to albinism.

Other rare conditions among the children include Prader-Willi syndrome, Williams Syndrome, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, bilateral congenital cataracts, growth hormone deficiency and pituitary tumour.

“Branden was excited to see his friends participate in the exhibition,” said Yap.

“He is happy that all their artworks have received compliments.

“He was thrilled when people told him that they liked his works.

Some of the bags for sale at the exhibition.Some of the bags for sale at the exhibition.

“Some 30% of the artworks have been sold through this exhibition and this is very encouraging,” she said.

The icing on the cake for the artists was meeting former Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin who was the guest of honour at the opening.

“They were excited to have Khairy autograph their work,” said Yap.

“As parents, we appreciate that Khairy was present to demonstrate his commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

The exhibition had five themes – tribe, resilience, hope, passion and play.

For details on the exhibition, which ends tomorrow, visit

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