Showcase of ocean life at craft centre’s open day

Fun learning: One of the teachers instructing the students during the drama and speech presentation.

TURNING unwanted material into creative works of art can be seen as killing two, or even three, birds with one stone. Especially, if you’re creative young people who are aware of recycling and its benefits.

Colourful lobsters, crabs, starfishes, a giant octopus that had plastic bottles as its many tentacles, as well as other sea creatures made of newspapers, cardboards and other recyclable materials decorated The Kidz at Work Da Vinci Arts and Craft Centre on its open day, which was a showcase of the success of this notion.

Themed “The Great Ocean”, the event featured artwork handmade by young artists who undergo the unique art programme designed by the centre.

According to the art centre’s principal, Cydney Cheah Chii Foong, the centre pioneered the usage of recyclable materials in their programmes.

“Arguably, we are the first in Malaysia to use recyclable materials in art programmes for young children.

“Students, from as young as three, start helping to collect the recyclable materials four months beforehand to contribute to the two-day event,” she said.

Cheah also explained that the children learn to be resourceful when they make use of recyclable materials, sharpening their imaginations in the process.

“It helps them excel in school projects, especially in making backdrops. Besides, the materials are free and it also helps save the environment,” Cheah adds.

As evident by the vibrant hues and different patterns used on the sea creatures, the kids had the freedom to express themselves while applying the many techniques and strokes taught by their teachers.

Proud students showed off the products of their hardwork to equally proud parents, who were invited for parent-teacher sessions to update them on their child’s progress.

Head of Arts and co-ordinator of the event, Abd Hanif Abd Hamid, or Teacher Hanif, as he is known among students, had gone to great lengths to ensure the sea creatures looked real and impressive. Throwing together trash and shaping them into something, understandably, is no easy task.

“It started with my experience with recyclable materials since I was studying. I took fine art sculpture as my major and I had to resort to inexpensive means to experiment for my projects.

“Eventually, I fell in love with them and managed to turn any recyclable materials into beautiful objects,” Hanif said.

Asked whether he was inspired by anything in particular, he added, “Everything inspires me. I love looking at everything and I have a very active mind that gives birth to so many ideas. It may seem weird, but, it’s like that.”

K. Saravanan, 29, father of four-year-old Sanyuktha, agrees that the art programme managed to sow the seeds of interest in arts and craft in his daughter.

“My daughter usually relates her lessons to me and her mum with much enthusiasm.

“We appreciate the fact that she is learning something extra; that anything can be art as long as you have the skill and a bit of imagination.”

Apart from the exhibition, there were dance performances as well as speech and drama act by the children in conjunction with the open day.

It was really heartening to see tiny dancers, dressed in blue in line with the theme, jigging away to the tune of Disney’s Little Mermaid tune, “Under the Sea”.

Those who are interested in finding out more about the art programme offered by Kidz At Work Da Vinci Arts and Craft Centre, Bukit Jalil can call 03-89940482.

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