Nurturing Blossoming Talents

Nurturing Blossoming Talents

Caption: Discovering strengths and talents

Mdm Lily Niam, 84, and Mr Yong Yoon Siong, 94, are inseparable. Married for 64 years, the affectionate couple enjoy doing things together – whether it is going to the hawker centre for their meals or taking part in activities at TOUCHpoint@Geylang Bahru.

Sometime last year, TOUCH staff approached the couple to see if they were keen to take part in “Blossoms” comprising 13 art and craft sessions conducted over six months by a dedicated team of artists from Hesed Artloft, under a programme funded by the WeCare Arts Fund (WCAF). Launched in 2014, the WCAF is a collaboration between National Arts Council and the People’s Association. Administered by the five Community Development Councils (CDCs) in Singapore, WCAF aims to increase arts access for beneficiaries within the social service sector.

“When we first heard of it, we were excited. We are always supportive of the centre’s activities. During the pandemic, we were scared to go out so it was good that the lessons were held at the centre, close to our home,” says Lily.

Together with 30 other seniors, Lily and her husband explored various art mediums and methods to create four kinds of artwork comprising a specially designed canvas bag, canvas floral painting, a pillowcase and a recycled plant holder.

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Caption: Seniors attending craft sessions at TOUCH’s senior activity centre in Geylang Bahru

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Caption: Mdm Lily Niam and her husband Mr Yong Yoon Siong showcasing their artwork at the "Blossoms" Exhibition held in March 2022

“When I saw our final artwork, I couldn’t believe it! We are already so old. I didn’t know we are capable of such lovely work!,” adds Lily.

Rekindling a passion for the arts
For Mr Sopii Bin Bakre, 66, it brought back fond memories of his art classes in secondary school some 50 years ago. Since young, he has enjoyed learning to draw and mastering the skill of copper tooling, a type of metal.

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Caption: Mr Sopii and Mdm Jamila feeling motivated and inspired

“Those days were really fun. I felt like there was a long pause and I have been given this opportunity to continue from where I left off. I like art so much. I dream of it and think of it all the time!” says Mr Sopii.

Mr Sopii’s wife, Mdm Jamila Bte, 64, adds that she enjoys learning new things as it can help increase brain power. “It’s better than not doing anything at all.”

Celebrating with the community
The seniors’ hard work culminated in an exhibition called “Blossoms” held from 2 to 8 March 2022 at our senior activity centre. Friends, neighbours and loved ones were invited to celebrate the wonderful works of our seniors. We are also grateful to our community partners, including representatives from the Kolam Ayer Community Centre, for their presence and support.

The colourful display of artworks testify to the hidden talents and untapped potential of seniors in pursuing their passions and discovering their strengths. Everyone – regardless of their needs or life stage – can be someone to achieve greatness in life.

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Caption: Visitors admiring seniors' art work the "Blossoms Exhibition"

Story published in 2022
Updated in 2024