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StarMetro, Wednesday 29 May 2013

StarMetro, Wednesday 29 May 2013


Mother and son: Revina Junus (above left) and her son Fitri discussing one of the latters works, Mother and Child. Fitris works consist mainly of birds as subjects.

Labour of love: never ending story (above) is one of the three acrylic pieces painted by aida, in support of her son Luqmans contribution for the Paint With Me art exhibition.

Carefree: Zahrahs swimming With Fishes and (above) Counting eggs.

Elegant strokes: Leili explaining how she executed her sole oil painting titled Moving Clouds for the exhibition.

Special works of art

Story and photos by VINCENT TAN vincent.tan@thestar.com.my
RT can be a wonderful tool to help special needs children develop skills, and can even help parents bond with their offspring. Exhibitions such as Paint With Me currently being held at the Artemis Art Gallery in Publika, reflect this. Paint With Me features the artworks of three special needs children as well as their mothers. The exhibition is presented by artist Tan See Ling, who also runs art therapy classes for these children. These works of art are primarily impressionist in nature. Together with their mothers works, with the exception of one piece, they are all executed using acrylics. Acrylics was used because the oilbased paint dries faster. For some children with fine motor control problems, using another medium may be beyond their current physical ability, said Tan. The subject matters vary. For example, 18-year-old Fitri Raslans subjects veer towards nesting birds, with themes such as mother and child bonding. There is one exception however, as depicted in his painting titled Dad Has His Day Too. Meanwhile Luqman Hakim, 10, almost always includes his trademark Woofy, a black dog in his paintings. These paintings mostly tell the stories of friendship.

Paintings by special needs children capture visitors hearts

sketch, and when we discovered his interest in art, we set out to look for a teacher, said Lim. Tan said Paint With Me was held to provide support and guidance to parents as well as encourage them to start painting with their children at home.

Self-expression: Luqman showing his series of paintings on canvas. Many of the pieces are based on making friends, with Woofy, a small black dog, as a trademark of sorts for the young special needs artist.

Zahrah Nakhjavani, 13, however, goes for variety; from flowers to a piece featuring a child swimming with two fishes. Her mother, Iranian expat Leili Sadaghiani, was determined to have her child grow up as normal as possible, and among other efforts, enrolled Zahrah for art classes. My hobby is painting and I felt this was an avenue for Zahrah to express herself, said Leili, adding that it also helped her bond with her daughter. Art has helped us both by broadening our horizons, she added. Previously, Zahrahs artwork was showcased along with those by a group of Malaysian special needs children, also organised by Tan. Meanwhile, Fitri, 18, diagnosed with autism, is eager to talk about the subjects in his artwork, with innovative titles such as Time Out to denote the enforced peace between two arguing children by their parents. Luqmans mother, Aida Lim, said her son was diagnosed with dyspraxia, a neurological condition which makes learning a task, especially since Luqman was placed in a public school. He tries hard at school, even though it is hard for him. But he likes to

Art has helped us both by broadening our horizons.


Children with learning difficulties are usually not self-motivated, and as teachers and parents, we are constantly seeking ways and solutions to help them tap their inner potential, she explained. Such children also have vivid imaginations, as you can see from paintings such as Luqmans or Zahrahs, said Tan. Paint With Me will be held until May 31 at the Artemis Art Gallery, located at Lot 21 and 22, Level G4 Publika, KL. Opening hours are from 10am to 8pm daily.