NDP 2023 packs feature artwork by 21 artists with disabilities
Despite being born with muscular dystrophy, Mr Lim Kay Choong has never let his limited mobility get in the way of his love for art.
The 34-year-old travels regularly to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (Singapore) to practise drawing, and his passion paid off when he was selected as one of 21 artists with disabilities to create art that will adorn this year’s National Day Parade (NDP) packs.
Mr Lim’s contribution forms part of a design called Blooming Singapore, which uses the shape of the national flower, the Vanda Miss Joaquim, to showcase the flavours of Singapore and its ever-evolving landscape.
On Thursday, the NDP 2023 executive committee unveiled four designs at the engagement event at the Enabling Village in Bukit Merah, where Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat met and thanked the 21 artists and four SG Enable student volunteers from tertiary institutes here.
The works of art were co-created by the artists over three sessions, together with the student volunteers with SG Enable, the lead agency here that supports people with disabilities and their caregivers.
This is the fourth consecutive year that the NDP executive committee has partnered SG Enable to feature artwork by people with disabilities.
Each artist was first tasked to illustrate what Singapore means to them, and Mr Lim chose to draw Changi Airport’s iconic control tower. Contributions from six artists were then combined to form an orchid during the final session.
Mr Lim said: “(The airport represents) my childhood. When I was young, I remember it being very spacious, very nice and quiet.”
Clearly thrilled by the end result, he added: “I’ve always only seen the NDP on the television, but this year, I have a chance to be a part of it, to even create something for it.”
In all, 140 art pieces were created and then combined into the four designs for this year’s NDP packs.
The four designs this year are fewer than the 22 unique designs on last year’s NDP packs, but this was done to make the process more inclusive, said Ms Ku Geok Boon, chief executive of SG Enable.
“This year, we decided that instead of individual works of art, we would like people to come together right from the start,” she said. “So although there are only four pieces of artwork, every participant involved had their fair share of contribution.”
The design titled Connectedness allowed 11-year-old Muhammad Rizq Daniyal Muhammad Lutfi to express his love for Singapore’s public transport network.
Daniyal, who has an intellectual disability, is a train enthusiast. Among his contributions are colourful, criss-crossing lines inspired by Singapore’s rail network map, and a drawing of train car doors featuring the older MRT livery: a red stripe across a white background.
The Grace Orchard School pupil told The Straits Times that he felt honoured to see his art in the final design, which also features the work of four other artists.
Sri Ramachandran Vijayan, 18, and four others contributed to the design titled Fabric of Singapore. It features a patchwork of traditional motifs alongside modern landmarks such as the Esplanade and the ArtScience Museum.
Speaking through a sign language interpreter, the Lighthouse School student said: “I feel really happy and proud to be a Singaporean. I learnt a lot about the Singaporean icons and buildings, and how to draw them.”
Ms Justine Anne Yeo, 20, said she saw the artists going all out to create the art pieces.
“(The artists) were really wringing their minds and putting all their hearts into this, to create something for all Singaporeans,” said the Nanyang Polytechnic student.
She was one of four student volunteers who helped the artists digitise and compile the final artwork, and worked closely with the team that created the design, Diversity, which uses the map of Singapore as a canvas to celebrate the nation’s communities and cultural heritage.
“We are very excited for everyone else to see the designs, see a part of themselves in it and relate to it,” she added.
On Thursday, Mr Heng, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, said it was inspiring to meet artists of different ages and special abilities who had come together to design the artwork for this year’s NDP packs.
“Their creative designs capture how diverse fabrics of Singapore are woven together and connect us, enabling Singapore to thrive and bloom in the world,” he said.
The stories of the art pieces and their artists have been compiled into a book and presented to each artist, while a digital version can be downloaded from the NDP website.
The packs will be given out to those attending the National Education shows, NDP previews and the actual parade on Aug 9, and those with tickets to the Heartland Celebrations.