Students with Special Needs Host Art Exhibition

Beautiful Minds art exhibit an insight into a different worldview

Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, YB Dato’ Sri Rohani Abdul Karim today launched a special art exhibition featuring close to 50 art pieces created by students with learning disabilities from non-profit organisation, Generating Opportunities for the Learning Disabled (GOLD) with managing director, Property Development Division – Malaysia and Singapore, Sunway Berhad, Sarena Cheah.

Themed “Beautiful Minds”, the art exhibition has been brought together by Sunway Group, the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, Sunway University’s Sunway Institute for Social Entrepreneurship (SISE), the Department of Art & Design of Sunway University, GOLD and Sunway Pyramid. It features the selected works by 15 students who were trained and taught by a team of Sunway University fine arts lecturers, including award winning artist Yeoh Kean Thai in an arts programme for students with learning disabilities.

Kean Thai is an internationally-renowned artist, and credited for being one of the very first few artists from Malaysia to be featured during the New York “Asia Art Week,” with works exhibited in international venues including Hong Kong, Italy and even at the Beijing Olympics.

The arts programme was designed to improve the students’ artistic skills as part of Sunway’s corporate social responsibility effort to provide special students with skills that will help them self-sustain through life. The students were trained over a course of 20 weeks in drawing, colouring and self-expression through art.

Dato’ Sri Rohani commended Sunway Group on its commitment to promote diversity and inclusiveness.

“The art exhibition celebrates diversity – the diversity of our nation, and the diversity of thought. It is a noteworthy endeavour to bring about inclusiveness that elevates all within our community,” she said.

“The showcase is part of Sunway Group’s ongoing efforts to enrich our communities in the many things we do. Beautiful Minds is an exhibition that is not only rewarding for the budding artists, and the mentors who trained them but also rewarding for our community who is given an opportunity to appreciate the students’ distinctive view of the world,” said Sarena Cheah at the event.

Among the students being showcased are 15-year-old Siti Nursaffura Akmam who was the first prize winner at the Leaded Education for Trust School Conference 2015 art competition, and 30-year-old Abu Qasim Mohd Ghazali whose work has been chosen as a gift to the Menteri Besar of Selangor.

Learning Disabilities (LD) or Intellectual Disabilities refer to a number of disorders, which may affect the acquisition, organisation, retention, understanding, or use of verbal or nonverbal information. Examples of Learning or Intellectual Disabilities include Down Syndrome, Autism, Dyslexia and Minimal Brain injury dysfunction / Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

GOLD provides the necessary platform for the LD students from the Special Class in SMK Bandar Sunway to enhance their abilities and enable them to contribute to, and participate in society and ultimately, lead self-sustaining lives through its Economic Empowerment Programmes (EEP) carried out at the 3C MPSJ building.
Sunway Group has supported SMK Bandar Sunway, the Special Class at SMK Bandar Sunway and GOLD for 10 years as part of its corporate social responsibility initiative. The conglomerate has helped to build, and upgrade the school, provide job training programmes, and supported GOLD’s social entrepreneurship by helping the NGO create a viable business model.

The “Beautiful Minds” exhibition will be showcased at Lower Ground 2, West Wing (between Guardian and Nando’s) in Sunway Pyramid from December 17-20 during mall opening hours.