Special Needs Artists Make Their Mark In Holland Village


A few years ago, Yan could not even hold up a paint brush. Today, Yan is among the 24 artists who have helped to bring colours to the Holland Village MRT Ventilation Shaft. The artists are members of the YMCA Special Talents, Arts and Recreation Society (Y STARS), a group of young adults with special needs passionate about visual and performing arts.

Adviser to Buona Vista Grassroots Organisations, Mr Chan Chun Sing, hosted a lunch at the Buona Vista Community Club to thank Y STARS for their efforts. He presented YMCA with a plaque and Y STARS members with certificates of appreciation and vouchers to encourage them to excel further in their talents.

“I was impressed to see the vibrant and colourful artwork showcasing their collective talent for art. Their dedication is commendable and I’m heartened by their contributions,” said Mr Chan.

One of the 24 artists was Yan, who has down syndrome. Prior to his time at Y STARS, he was unresponsive towards social cues. Volunteers at the Y STARS art sessions had to provide extensive assistance, even holding and guiding his hand across the paper to help him create a drawing. Yan is now able to work independently and looks forward to attending these sessions.

“It makes me really proud to think how far Yan has come. He has changed so much from when he first started and showed tremendous signs of growth. He now chooses his own colours and we have a mini-celebration every time he does something new,” said Oh Chin Yang, a regular volunteer of the Y Art Challenge programme.

“We are really proud to see the work of Y STARS in a public place. We hope that people will appreciate them and acknowledge that they should not solely be associated with their disabilities, but rather with their talents and what they are able to do,” said Mr Steve Loh, General Secretary & CEO of YMCA of Singapore.

Each flower and cactus in this floral-themed Community Art Gallery mural was painted by an individual member. The art piece represents their colourful and diverse personalities, while the close proximity of the plants symbolises the strong bonds and friendship between the members.


Contributed by Sim Yu Xiang