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Their skills demonstrate their abilties

(Friday, 24 August 2007)

Photos by SAMUEL ONG

Without any sketching, Wong Chang Wei started to paint strokes of red on the drawing paper laid in front of him.

Holding a palette on his right palm, he moved his paintbrush swiftly and confidently.

When asked on what he was drawing, he jovially imitated the sound of rooster calling at dawn.

Great potential: Hearing-impaired Lim Anwar working on his impressive piece on roosters

The 23-year-old with learning disabilities was among the 17 disabled who competed in the National Abilympics (which stands for Olympics of Abilities) watercolour painting contest at NN Gallery, Ampang recently.

When Malaysian Council for Rehabilitation (MCR) volunteer Fauziah Tahar gave the green light to begin the contest, the disabled could not wait to transfer their creativity onto the papers.

The contestants, aged between 18 and 46, drew cats, cows, roosters, butterflies, fishes and various kinds of animals as the theme of the contest was “Living with Animals”.

Organised by MCR, the contest held every four years was to encourage the disabled - with physical or learning disabilities, or deaf - to build vocational and leisure skills.

Artist at work: Tan Seng Kit, 18 focuses all his attention on his fuzzy brown cat

After taking a glance at the disabled who were concentrating on producing their very own art pieces, MCR honorary secretary general Khatijah Sulieman said, “Everyone is a winner today.”

“The potential and creativity of the people with disabilities are great. I hope the local artists can guide them so that they are on par with the other winners from all over the world,” she said.

Lim Anwar, who is deaf, won the hearts of the judges with his impressive artwork on roosters.

Together with seven other disabled, he will represent Malaysia in the 7th International Abilympics at Shizuoka, Japan in November.

Colours of joy: Wong Chang Wei, 23, in a jovial mood as he paints his piece.

The categories they are participating in include rattan basket weaving, English word processing, woodcarving, dressmaking, watercolour painting and flower arranging.

The judges of this contest were art collector Pakharuddin Sulaiman, NN Gallery director Sharifah Nor Akmar and curator Rafizah Abdul Rahman.

Yellow House Society of Kuala Lumpur, NN Gallery and Pakharuddin Sulaiman sponsored the event.

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