25 MAY 2001

Maybank Singapore and Very Special Arts (VSA) will showcase the works of 12 artists with disabilities in an exhibition to be officially launched by Mr Yatiman Yusof, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Information and the Arts, on Friday, 25 May 2001 at 5 pm. To be held at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts Selegie Gallery, the exhibition, entitled Duo Sensitivity, will be opened for viewing to the public from 26 to 31 May 2001.

This exhibition is the culmination of the first-ever tutelage programme for artists with disabilities sponsored by Maybank and organised by VSA. The title of the exhibition, "Duo Sensitivity", suggests "a partnership of two creating works of art that is delicate and yet powerful". The works of these artists showcased at the exhibition will manifest visible improvement in artistic techniques acquired from the Maybank-VSA Pair-With-An-Artist Programme.

Three artworks from each artist have been chosen for this exhibition to allow the maximum exposure and display of styles and media. The artworks were selected also for their insight into the artists' inner world that "expresses their spirits and motivation", a display of "a strong sense of earnestness and perseverance".

Mr Spencer Lee, Senior General Manager of Maybank, said, "Maybank has been involved with Very Special Arts and artists with disabilities over the past seven years. We at Maybank have been very impressed with their artistic talent and ability and are confident that they can play an important role and contribute to Singapore's vision of becoming a global city for the Arts. With our continual support and encouragement, we know their creativity and works will continue to excel."

In his speech, Mr Yatiman Yusof, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Information and The Arts, said, "With the government's vision to develop Singapore into a Renaissance City, I am confident that this group of unique talents have much to contribute to our future arts scene. With constant encouragement and support from the public and private sectors, artists with disabilities will one day shed the labels of their disability and be recognised as artists in their own right."

To further strengthen Maybank's commitment in support of arts for people with disabilities, the Bank is designating an area in its new headquarters in Singapore, Maybank Tower, for the display of such art pieces.

This exhibition marks another important milestone in Maybank's efforts to raise the profile of disabled artists. To reach an even wider audience beyond the shores of Singapore, Maybank is bringing these artists and their works to Malaysia for a similar exhibition at Maybank's Art Gallery at its headquarters, Menara Maybank in Kuala Lumpur from 12 to 19 June 2001.

Many of the artists with disabilities have fond memories of their experience with the Pair-With-An-Artist Programme. Mr Johnny Ang, a local mouth painter, said, "I still contact my mentor, Mr Chng Chin Kang, to seek his advice on my works. I would invite him over to my house for coffee, where we would talk about Art. I still continue this friendship, as I do not want this programme to be a one-off affair. I now paint a lot better. It is a positive outcome."

The Maybank-VSA Pair-With-An-Artist Programme also gave artists like Ms Mimi Ng, the opportunity to work with new mediums. She said, "It is my first introduction to the world of sculpture using clay and wood. I have learned more from the sculpture exhibitions that Ms Han Sai Por (her mentor) participated. The Maybank-VSA Pair-With-An-Artist Programme is a very good exposure for me. I would like to continue in the programme as art is never limited."

The mentors have also enjoyed the experience guiding the artists. Ms Oscar Ng, who is with the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, had this to say, "The Pair-With-An-Artist programme gave us opportunities to interact with these special artists and to have a training experience that is not confined to just the four walls of a classroom. I know some of my fellow mentors brought their artists out for painting trips. I am glad that Shiow Chai Hong and Wong Muh Liang who were attached to me, have now learnt to do their own research before they paint. They also realise that they can express themselves through painting what they like and not necessarily paint what other people may like."

The nine renowned professional local artists who have volunteered their time for this programme include sculptors, Ms Han Sai Por and Mr Yeo Chee Kiong; and painters, Mr Jimmy Quek Prabhakara, Mr Goh Ee Choo, Mr Chng Chin Kang, Mr Low Kim Chit, Ms Oscar Ng, Mr Raymond Lau, and Mr Ash Yeo.

The artists with various forms of disabilities include, Mr Gilbert Tan (quadriplegic); Ms Chang May Fung (congenital deformity); Mr Eugene Soh (blockage in spinal cord); Mr Ng Siang Hoi (hearing impairment); Ms Serene Cheng (hemiaplegia); Ms Shiow Chai Hong (severe arthritis); Ms Mimi Ng (hearing impairment); Ms Wong Muh Liang (intellectual disability); Mr Yap Neng Ping (fractured cervical cord); Mr Lim Ah Lee (Hansen's disease); Mr Johnny Ang (quadriplegic), and Mr Gregory Chew (autistic).

About the Maybank-VSA Pair-With-An-Artist Programme
Launched in April 1999, the Maybank-VSA Pair-With-An-Artist Programme was designed to deepen the aesthetic sensitivity and broaden the aesthetic perspectives (acquire new styles, methods, and mediums) of artists with disabilities. Most of the artists are self-taught and their works are well received at public exhibitions.

Due to their immobility and lack of exposure, many artists with disabilities have little knowledge of art theories and professional practices. Through the programme, nine renowned professional artists volunteered three months of their time to impart such knowledge to them and equipped them with a new artistic vocabulary.

About Maybank
Maybank has been an active corporate sponsor-partner of Very Special Arts Singapore since December 1994. Together, Maybank and VSA have co-organised and sponsored many charitable events from annual Arts Camps for children with disabilities, the Disability Youth Awareness Camp, and a tripartite partnership between Maybank, VSA, and Singapore Polytechnic to introduce the art of Saori weaving to people with disabilities. Maybank has also organised several events for artists with various forms of disabilities to showcase their artistic talents. In 1997, a Maybank-Very Special Arts Fund was set up to train artists with disabilities.

Maybank is among the top five banks in ASEAN. The Bank is currently actively pursuing e-initiatives to position itself as a major player in the regional banking arena. Maybank will continue to harness technological advancements to bring convenience and a wider range of services to our customers to enable them to conduct their banking needs anytime they want, anywhere in the world.

Maybank in Singapore has a network of 22 branches and 23 ATMs strategically located in both the business districts and the suburban public housing estates.

About Very Special Arts Singapore
Very Special Arts Singapore is a multi-dimensional non-profit organisation that offers comprehensive programmes that support and provide life-long learning and development through the arts for people with disabilities. Its visual and performing arts programme are aimed at the rehabilitative and social integration benefits.

25 May 2001

Issued by Corporate Affairs & Service Quality Division, Maybank Singapore