Artist sets out to help set up mini-library in remote Penan settlement


  • Nation
  • Monday, 09 Dec 2019

Artist Mary Anne Vaz (left) and her young artists in Pustaka Miri for noble project to help Penan kids in remote Sarawak.

MIRI: An artist in Miri is teaming up with the Sarawak State Library’s IT library in Miri to raise funds to set up a mini-library for Penan children in the remote Long Latie settlement in northern Sarawak.

Mary Anne Vaz and more than 40 of her young artists are currently holding a "Joy of Painting" exhibition at the Miri Library where teen and pre-teen artists as young as 5 are drawing paintings on Sarawak’s nature and culture.

The exhibition runs until Jan 7,2020.

Vaz told The Star that for every painting of her young artists that is sold, RM10 will be donated by the young artist to a fund set up by the Miri Library to buy books for Penan kids in Long Latie.

"Miri Library and my team of artists are aiming to set up a mini-library at the Long Latie Penan settlement.

"Part of the proceeds from the paintings sold will be used to buy reading materials for the Penan children in Long Latie.

"The Miri Library will set up the reading facility in Long Latie next year," said Vaz.

Long Latie is populated by about 1,000 Penan and is located about seven hours from Miri by timber road.

Vaz is an accomplished artist; having won numerous local and international awards for her paintings since she was a child.

Her paintings are a way of expressing what she sees and feels about Sarawak, but she uses her skills in painting for purposes beyond the ordinary.

Vaz has a studio in Miri where she teaches painting to children, youths, adults and senior citizens and she even has whole families attending her classes.

Born in Penang, Vaz married a Miri local and then migrated here. She said she has grown to love Sarawak and the people here.

She is now retired from teaching and runs an art studio in Miri.

"I love to draw and paint scenes of local cultures, and local natives.

"Painting is also a form of therapy that benefits patients suffering from dementia and autistic woes," she said, adding that she has a few patients in her class.

Helping family to bond via painting has become her long-term goals, she said.

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