Fundraising through Love and Art from the Valley of Hope 2.0
On Oct 7 this year, a team of volunteers and I accompanied four residents from the Valley of Hope – Chuar Gim Thuan, Tan Cheng Guan, Goh Sooi Seong and Heng Pak Nang, to attend the first ever joint exhibition on pastel Nagomi art at the Oriental Art and Cultural Centre. Our pastel Nagomi art instructor, Sarana Khoo, rented an OKU van to send our residents to the venue to celebrate the opening of the art exhibition, which was graced by the Japan pastel Nagomi art founder Hosoya Norikatsu.
I was overcome with emotions when Cheng Guan represented the artists from the Valley of Hope to give a speech at the event. They are where they are now because of their determination and perseverance. Painting is not an easy task for them since they are only exposed to art at this age. Pastel Nagomi art is also a challenge because it requires focus, persistence and good eyesight - that was the reason why they were not too confident when they first started to learn this pastel art, but they truly enjoyed the classes and encouraged each other to carry on.
Care & Share Circle participates in the charity fundraising event at the Sri Lanka Buddhist Temple in Sentul every December. Last year, our residents helped raise RM5,400 from the sale of their watercolour paintings. I asked my pastel Nagomi art students, "You are now artists! Do you want to contribute your pastel Nagomi artwork to raise funds for the temple this year?"
They gave a resounding yes. "Of course! We want to help other people too." From then on, I would see them practising and producing artwork enthusiastically in their ward. Every time they see me, they would ask: "Is this artwork nice? Do you think people will buy this?" I would then respond by showering them with encouragement and approval.
Their artistic pursuit has moved me deeply, especially when I see Chuar Gim Thuan , who do not have fingers, pick up her pen again and again to complete her artwork stroke by stroke. While sympathetic towards their condition, I also find their persistence truly admirable. Cheng Guan, who is 80 years old, and Pak Nang, who is 81, rely on their crooked fingers to create the gentle, soft hues. Goh Sooi Seong , 77, often paints until late at night because she is afraid that her inspiration might disappear. I feel so proud of their inner strength and their sincerity in doing charity!
Today, we once again be organising the "Fundraising through Love and Art from the Valley of Hope", which aims at recognising the importance of the rebirth of these former leprosy patients. To see them standing in front of people proudly and bravely as the "artists of the Valley of Hope" is a proof that each and every one of us can have a complete, healthy inner self despite any physical constraints. When this inner self radiates its energy, it can inspire and change many lives.
They inspire many others as far as Taiwan and Hong Kong through their shear dedication and determination to raise fund for Sri Jayanti Metta Vihara in Bukit Puchong 2. Their art pieces were sold online and they managed to raise 12 thousand ringgit for the Buddhist centre .
Their work has inspired many and the beautiful art pieces will be exhibited in The National Art Gallery in April this year for a 2 month period. Let us salute these lovely 80 year old artists and thank them for the joy of sharing their inspiring art work.