Former leprosy patients pay tribute to Covid-19 frontliners through art

SUNGAI BULOH: Their own ordeal did not stop former leprosy patients from grabbing their art supplies to pay tribute to Covid-19 frontliners through their artwork.

Members of the public will be able to catch the Pandemic and Covid-19 Art Exhibition - displaying artwork of former leprosy patients from the National Leprosy Control Centre (PKNN) - on May 14 and May 15.

The exhibition is jointly organised by PKNN, Hospital Sungai Buloh and charity organisation Care & Share Society, with the support of Muzium Negara.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah launched a book entitled "A Blessing In Disguise" at the exhibition.

The book contained the artwork of seven members from the centre - also known as the Sungai Buloh Settlement aka Valley of Hope -during the movement control order (MCO) period.

"The residents from PKNN have put in great efforts and initiatives to pay tribute to the Sungai Buloh Hospital and the Health Ministry staff," said Dr Noor Hisham, while thanking those involved.

Meanwhile, Care & Share Society said in a statement that it had been encouraging the residents from the Valley of Hope to paint even before the MCO so that their artwork could be displayed at the Valley of Hope Story Gallery.

"As these old folks have no foundation in painting, and have not received any formal training, the volunteers would go into the wards from time to time to accompany them to paint," it said.

The organisation also launched an online charity sale and published Covid-19 albums to stimulate the creative potential of the inmates and give them opportunities to contribute.

"Through painting activities, our artists gradually discover and feel that their inner being is still strong and complete, through the process of working hard to paint and successfully selling the paintings to contribute back to society; they finally regain their long-lost dignity and confidence," it said.

Care & Share Society said it aims to recognise the importance of rebirth among former leprosy patients, through the event.

"To see them standing in front of people bravely and proudly as the 'artists of the Valley of Hope' is proof that each and every one of us can have a complete and healthy inner-self despite any physical constraints. When this inner-self radiates energy, it can inspire and change many lives," Care & Share Society added.

The Sungai Buloh Settlement was officially launched in 1930 and was among the largest leprosariums in the world at its peak.

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