7 artworks displayed permanently at Choa Chu Kang Bus Interchange

In VSA’s recent collaboration with SMRT, 7 artworks done by VSA students were officially displayed permanently at the recently renovated Choa Chu Kang Bus Interchange on 17th February 2019.

This was an effort from SMRT in hope to affirm more talents by people with disabilities, as well as to encourage the public in building a more inclusive society.



Featured on both Lian He Zao Bao and Straits Times Lifestyle, “My Journey” is presented in conjunction with Singapore Art Week 2019 and honours one of Singapore’s most celebrated female multidisciplinary artist, Chng Seok Tin. This solo exhibition showcases past and new works which were never exhibited before, and they include sculptures, paintings, prints and literature. Chng has also spent much of her life as an arts educator. Part of the exhibition features her interviews with the media which reveal her insights on the arts landscape in Singapore. 


Meet the first lead character with Down’s Syndrome on local television

For the first time in local television, a drama will have a character with special needs as one of its main leads.

Kin, the upcoming new long-form drama on Mediacorp TV Channel 5, is about four families and their interactions with one another, through which the complexities of life, love and family relationships will be explored. It stars Jason Godfrey, Ebi Shankara, Carla Dunareanu, Ariati Tyeb Papar and more.

One of the families, which runs a tau huay shop, has a cherished youngest son called Handsome, who has Down’s Syndrome.

Handsome is played by 19-year-old Timothy Lee, a student with Down’s Syndrome at Mountbatten Vocational School, whose interests also include dancing and modelling.

Lee, who is involved in performing arts programmes run by charity organisation Very Special Arts, got the part after nailing just one audition.


The Tatler Weekend Round-Up: August 31 to September 2

Very Special Arts (VSA) Singapore presents its first ever inclusive musical. Written and directed by artistic director R Chandran (ACT 3 Theatrics), the production will star many of VSA’s up and coming actors from Very Special Theatrics. A story about the aspirations and struggles of a VSA beneficiary as he strives to become a jazz performer, the musical is inspired by the story of 22-year-old budding pianist Joshua German, who will be performing alongside musicians from the Jazz Association (Singapore). The production is part of VSA’s annual Welcome to My World concert series.


First Look Asia: Top-Up Certificate in Visual Arts by VSA & NAFA CLE

“The charity, Very Special Arts Singapore, is marking its 25 year-anniversary this year. We learn more about their programmes for artists-in-training with disabilities.”


Budding artists with special needs can enrol in certificate course in visual arts

Aspiring artists 18 and above with special needs can now enrol in a programme launched by arts school Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa) and charity Very Special Arts Singapore (VSA) on Thursday (June 14). The programme will give a boost to those hoping to forge a career in the arts.

The certificate in visual arts, issued by Nafa’s Centre for Lifelong Education, is open to artists who have at least four years of visual arts training at VSA. Applications are subject to a selection process.

The five-month programme, to be held at VSA (Bedok Centre), will help participants sharpen their conceptualisation and time management, and they will be assessed on two projects. Set to begin this October, each edition of the programme will train between six and eight students.

“The programme offers artists with special needs an opportunity to improve their career prospects and show that despite their special needs, they can produce quality, conceptual works within a given timeline,” said Ms Maureen Goh, the executive director of VSA, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.”


Ideas to build a vibrant Asean community

Speaking at the launch on Wednesday, Mr Ong Keng Yong, chairman of the Singapore International Foundation (SIF), said: “The 50 essays offer multi-faceted and interesting perspectives on the initiatives that the region can pursue, to help build a vibrant Asean community.

Now in its third volume, the book was launched by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan at the National Gallery Singapore.

It comprises short essays and illustrations bound by the common theme of how a “people-oriented and socially responsible Asean community” can be achieved, SIF said.

The book is divided into five sections, with each focusing on a different theme – identity, inclusiveness, innovation, imagination and influence.


Enabling The Disabled Through The Arts

The Arts & Disability International Conference 2018 was held on 22 and 23 March to provide insights into empowering persons with disabilities through the arts. Jointly organised by the National Arts Council and Very Special Arts Singapore, the event brought together over 400 social service professionals, disabled and able-bodied artists, arts patrons and policy makers from Singapore and overseas. The two keynote speakers from this conference, Kate Hood from Australia and Kris Yoshi from Japan, shared their experiences with developing the disability arts scene in their respective countries.


Beautiful Like A Rainbow: True Colours Festival 2018

Even before the main event of the night, the Singapore Sports Hub was already buzzing with activity with the Festival Village, with a plethora of booths and programmes set up. Over at the main stage, exhilarating performances were already happening such as a riveting dance piece from brilliant Japanese duo Kazuyo Morita and Natsumi Sadayuki, whose elegant moves left us enchanted, while busker and music teacher Robert Tan charmed audiences with his voice.

Part outreach programme, visitors to the village could even get a taste of what life might be like for a disabled person, with booths such as a ‘Para-sports Tryout’ station set-up, where visitors could try playing basketball from a wheelchair. Others included stations from Dialogue in the Dark and the Singapore Association for the Deaf, both of which simulated the daily experience for a blind and deaf person respectively through sensory deprivation methods. In addition, the visitor centre transformed into a gallery for disabled visual artists to showcase their works, alongside becoming a space for thespians from VSA and No Strings Attached to present new devised works.

The concert itself was a grand affair, attended by President Halimah Yacob herself, along with Professor Tommy Koh and co-presenter The Nippon Foundation president Yohei Sasakawa. In their opening speeches, the guests-of-honour emphasised the need for equal opportunity, not just in Singapore but all around the world, and the intent of tonight’s concert – not to shine a light on the performers’ disabilities, but the talent behind each and every performer.


Singapore’s most esteemed disabled artists exhibit oriental works for Chinese New Year

A collaboration between VSA and Pan Pacific Singapore, the exhibition will be a series in three parts, featuring artworks by nine of VSA’s artists with disabilities. This first edition will showcase Chng Seok Tin’s mixed-media paintings based on Chinese poems—along with Chinese ink paintings from fellow local greats Teresa Tan and Lee Mun Choong.


True Colours Festival celebrates the most exceptional talents

From March 22-25 Singapore will play host to True Colours Festival – the Asia Pacific Celebration of Artistes with Disabilities. Some 20 exceptionally talented artistes and troupes will converge in Singapore for what will be the first and largest gathering of artistes with disabilities to perform in an event in the Asia-Pacific region.

True Colours is presented by Unesco and The Nippon Foundation (TNF), two international organisations which champion the rights of persons with disabilities (PWDs). It is produced by Very Special Arts Singapore (VSA) and supported by many partners, including DBS, Singapore Sports Hub and the Asia-Pacific Development Centre on Disability (APCD).

The festival comprises a ticketed multimedia indoor concert experience at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, a free admission outdoor festival village just a short walk away and an international conference on arts and disability.”


Kenneth Lee: Illustrator who has Autism wants to become a comic artist

Mr Lee, 25, who has mild autism spectrum disorder, said: “It’s how I develop my characters… I like the details, the complex stuff and things that are very unique, which inspire me to draw.”

The landscapes, buildings, sceneries, and objects with fantasy and sci-fi elements that he produces are normally based on what he picks up from watching TV or through the Internet, he added.

Mr Lee is one of the 20 beneficiaries of the TODAY Enable Fund. He received S$3,000, which will be used to help him publish a short comic book.

He has yet to decide on the storyline and characters, but wants his characters to be a mix of Japanese and American comic characters.

Mr Lee’s dream is to eventually be a “top comic artist”, and his mother is on the lookout for the right opportunities to get him the training he needs.

Source: http://www.todayonline.com/illustrator-who-has-autism-wants-be-top-comic-artist

We Didn't Expect That! VOICES Art Exhibition 2017

Each year, VSA organises an art exhibition to showcase artworks by young artists with special needs from the VOICES (Voices Of Individual’s Creative Expressions) programme. This annual art exhibition provides a platform for these talented young people to express and communicate their thoughts freely to the public through their artworks.

With this year’s theme of “We didn’t expect that!”, the young artists tried to capture moments that were unexpected or unforeseen to them. Whether it was a welcome surprise or not, the unpredictability of life is expressed through art the way they know best.

Read more …

Dialogue Art Exhibition 2017

Dialogue Art Exhibition 2017

Featured on Lian He Zao Bao and A-List, Dialogue is a curated art exhibition organised by Very Special Arts Singapore to eliminate the misconception that artists with disabilities are not able to produce “fine” art.

More than 20 pieces of artworks by Gregory Burns (Polio) and Chng Seok Tin (visually impaired) in the space of Visual Arts Centre to share their concerns about the society as well as their struggles of being a disabled artist in Singapore.

Since “dialogue” is an exchange of ideas or opinions on a particular issue, it allows the audience to have a silent conversation with the exhibited pieces to resolve an issue, which is the discrimination towards artists with disabilities.



So it was just as well that one of its unofficial artists in residence was 23-year-old pianist Azariah Tan, who has achieved much despite his degenerative hearing condition.
Partnering him for the evening was the husband-and-wife pair of violist Tan Wee-Hsin and violinist Lillian Wang from the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
Read More…

Very Special Art - Kids with disabilities show their talent at Annual Art Competition

The 14th Art Competition and Exhibition for Children and Youth with Special Needs 2016 was featured in The New Paper on 26 September.
It featured interviews with some of winners and their parents/caregivers who also shared their ups and downs caring for their special needs children yet the intrinsic benefits that art has brought to their lives.

Read more.