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Art of self-expression

Lyna Mohamad

Humans are generally intimidated and afraid that they are doing the wrong things. But when it comes to art, there is no such things as right or wrong, it’s a personal expression.

Rainforest Gallery Managing Owner Dato Paduka Haji Shofry bin Haji Abdul Ghafor shared this with the Bulletin on Wednesday on the sidelines of an art activity with cancer patients and survivors, held at Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC) in conjunction with World Cancer Day 2022. The activity was a collaboration between The Brunei Cancer Centre (TBCC) of PJSC and Rainforest Gallery.

The event is all about giving cancer patients and survivors the opportunity to enjoy themselves and have fun with colours.

“Art is such a simple thing and I am a strong believer that everybody can do it. My intention is to give participants the confidence and self-belief that this is something they can do. It is also a means for them to express their emotions.

“To me, art is therapy. The activity provides an enjoyable couple of relaxing hours spent in good company, with participants producing creative art work,” he said.

Dato Paduka Haji Shofry, who has never spent a day in an art school, started painting at 46 years old. While in New York, he discovered that it was something he was passionate about.

Rainforest Gallery Managing Owner Dato Paduka Haji Shofry bin Haji Abdul Ghafor works with a participant. PHOTOS: LYNA MOHAMAD
Haji Rahim bin Haji Dollah proudly holds up his artwork

“Now, what I am doing is imparting what I learnt in New York. You shouldn’t be afraid. Sometimes the fear is merely that – fear. Once you get past it, you will say, ‘Yes this is my work and I enjoyed it, I appreciate it and I am proud of it’,” he said.

Participant and cancer survivor Haji Rahim bin Haji Dollah from Kampong Rimba described the art activity as “enjoyable”, adding that it helps to keep his spirits up, and encourages others to be positive too.

Explaining his artwork, he said the image of the hands holding the heart symbolises the act of praying, which is cardinal. The message behind the painting is simple yet powerful – that Doa is a remedy.

Meanwhile, participant Ali said he was in sheer disbelief upon learning he had cancer.

Disappointed, he kept to himself. However, counselling and family support have helped him to be positive. Additionally, the art activity has boosted his confidence, allowing him to pour out his emotions in a meaningful manner by putting paintbrush to canvas.

Participants’ artwork will be exhibited at the World Cancer Day 2022 celebration today.

This is the second year the activity is being carried out. Last year saw the participation of fewer people, and the exhibition was held at Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex in the capital.


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