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PAssionArts Festival 2014 was held on Saturday, 14 June 2014 at the Tampines Community Plaza. Residents and persons with special needs alike, all were included in the community arts event to showcase artists’ creative works and provide opportunities for residents of Tampines to interact with one another. Christian Outreach to the Handicapped was invited to participate and its clients manned the ‘Paper Marbling’ booth, delighting both passers-by and Grassroots Advisor, Tampines North and Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC, Baey Yam Keng.

Guests-of-Honour Baey and Irene Ng gracing PAssionArts Festival 2014

Guests-of-Honour Baey Yam Keng and Irene Ng gracing PAssionArts Festival 2014

A good idea takes seed
Kevin Wong, Head (People’s Association (PA), Community Arts and Culture – Tampines GRC) chanced upon a booth manned by clients of Christian Outreach to the Handicapped (COH) at St. Hilda’s Secondary School’s Learning Symposium on 7 March 2014.

Fascinated by COH’s paper marbling and bird cut-out craftwork using milk bottles, he introduced himself to COH staff Eliza Lawrence and Executive Director Samuel Koh to explore the possibility of collaborating with COH to showcase their clients’ artwork.

St. Hilda’s Sec Sch Bagpipers

St. Hilda’s Sec Sch Bagpipers

Making the arts accessible
PAssionArts was established by the PA’s Community Arts and Culture Clubs (CACC) in 2011 to promote community arts and culture in Singapore by providing platforms such as the Community Art Gallery, to give residents and artists opportunities to display their artwork at common spaces such as HDB void decks, shopping malls and community clubs.

PAssionArts volunteers Art right in heart of the Tampines Community
Chinese Opera by Nick Shen Creating an inclusive Singapore, Our Home

Kevin said, “We are glad to be Bringing Arts and Culture to Everyone, Everywhere, Everyday, to COH clients and others in the community alike. It’s our PAssionArts’ motto. I believe it’s the same for the staff of COH as well when they engage their clients and supporters through their various arts programmes.”

Eliza with Tai Hock (right) andHwee Ping (left) Marbling with acrylics, vegetable oil & paper
Family members with kids dabbling with paint Passers-by trying their hand at the craft

Delighted by the invitation, COH enthusiastically set up a ‘Paper Marbling’ booth. COH clients, Hwee Ping who has Autism, and Tai Hock, who has Down’s Syndrome, represented COH in the community arts festival for the first time.

Mr Babu brought this home for his daughter Member of the public, Mr Cheng, with Tai Hock

Members of the public like Mr Cheng, 56, a Tampines resident, appreciated the move to include persons with special needs in the Festival’s programme. He said, “Society cannot just leave them alone; they also cannot be recluses…it is beneficial for persons with disabilities to openly participate in community activities together with other residents. This will broaden the mindset of the general public; society also benefits from it.”

Vertical Submarine collaborates with COH
Prior to the PAssionArt Festival, 12 COH clients spent six days spanning two weeks learning from the artists in independent art collective, Vertical Submarine, how to draw trees and create leaves with layering effects.

Peephole#1–What do you see? Peephole#2–Is that a tall red tree? Peephole#3–Is that a wink of a pink?

The COH clients then painted these trees on the internal walls of the house art installation. Vertical Submarine artists subsequently creatively positioned these to be admired through peepholes.

Vertical Submarine also painted Tempinis trees on the external walls of the house to complete the effect. These are trees which used to line the sidewalks of Tampines, that gave the town its name!

Painted Tempinis trees Peering into the peephole

Marbling with Baey Yam Keng
Tai Hock took pride in teaching Guest-of-Honour and Grassroots Advisor, Baey Yam Keng, how to create beautiful marbling effects on paper with water, paint and twigs.

Tai Hock in action!

Mr Baey shared these thoughts with us: “COH is an organisation that is part of the Tampines community and we welcome them warmly. I was with the COH clients the other day when they painted the trees for the house installation; and today they are running the booth and even teaching participants how to do marble art. Here, community residents get a chance to interact with them and it is a good opportunity for everyone to meet and get to know one another. PAssionArts involves residents of different abilities and artists have a chance to work with men on the street to create and materialise works that one can see and enjoy.

Just saying “Hi!”

I think people with handicaps are abled in different ways and have their own attributes. We all have a role to play in society. I am glad that Singapore is becoming more inclusive. I feel that (despite an individual’s condition), we must learn to see the beauty in life, the warmth among the caregivers and loved ones.”

With such encouraging words from the residents’ representative and strong collaborative efforts from the PA and community alike, Tampines residents can certainly look forward to more interesting arts and cultural initiatives for community to participate in, bond and grow together as one.

We could see everyone had a great a time!

Kudos and many thanks to the staff and volunteers from Tampines GRC Community Arts and Culture Clubs !

About the Author: The COH Resource Team comprises volunteers, content writers and experts, including psychologists, counsellors, educators and social service professionals.

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