The ‘Art for All’ exhibition is designed to challenge the stigma and society’s perception of limitations as well as open up opportunities and build a positive value chain for products by people with different abilities (OKU).
This was said by Permanent Secretary (Community) at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) Hajah Nor Ashikin binti Haji Johari at the launch of the exhibition at Gallery 4, Brunei Energy Hub, Dermaga Diraja.
Hajah Nor Ashikin also said, “In conjunction with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2022 (IDPWD 2022), we have the opportunity to record achievements and events in improving inclusivity and protection for OKU in Brunei Darussalam, in line with the wishes and objectives of the National Plan of Action for Persons with Different Abilities under the National Council of Social Issues (MKIS).”
She said the Art for All exhibition “showcases the creativity of OKU, and is a collaboration of Pusat Bahagia and associations such as Pusat Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al Hajjah Maryam, Society for the Management of Autism Related issues in Training, Education and Resources (SMARTER) Brunei and La Vida”.
She also hoped the exhibition will encourage collaboration between creative agencies to hire OKU as artists.
Visitors to the exhibition “will be able to immerse themselves in the experience of seeing art from the eyes of OKU”.
Hajah Nor Ashikin added, “By referring to the Smithsonian Guidelines for Accessible Exhibition Design, the exhibition has taken into account accessibility factors and prioritises inclusive experiences, for example, by hanging paintings at eye level for wheelchair users and providing tactile art.”
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Nazmi bin Haji Mohamad launched the exhibition as well as the ‘Artisan Pusat Bahagia’ logo to be used in all products made by Pusat Bahagia to raise the image of works made by OKU.
The minister also presented a certificate of appreciation to Dream Makers Enterprise, represented by its Managing Director Mohd Yamin bin Abdul Hamid, for their cooperation in creating the Artisan Pusat Bahagia logo.
According to Mohd Yamin, the colour purple was chosen “because we wanted to represent OKU and create a luxurious look so the products can compete in the international market”.
He added, “We worked with Pusat Bahagia for a couple of weeks, with variations on the design, ultimately culminating in this one. It took around a month to complete.
“The logo is very unique as it uses jawi and Latin script. We hope it will help Pusat Bahagia achieve its branding goals and build an image of quality products.“
Hajah Nor Ashikin, meanwhile, said, “The creation of the logo is one of the efforts under the revitalisation of Pusat Bahagia project to upgrade the image of products with quality.
“The use of the word ‘artisan’ is aimed at changing the public’s perception of products by OKU.”
She also said, “Among the efforts of the MCYS to protect the intellectual property rights and products of Pusat Bahagia trainees is through the use of licensing agreements prepared with the Attorney General’s Chambers.”
After the launch, the minister toured the exhibition comprising 148 art pieces including art canvas, plastic crafts and dioramas from Pusat Bahagia, Pusat Ehsan, SMARTER Brunei and La Vida.
La Vida’s special needs coordinator Simon Tiong said, “We wanted to show that OKU are talented. The public can see a range of their art, from very simple to more complex works.”
He added, “Through La Vida’s ‘BEAM’ programme, which includes Baking, Employment and Education, ART and Music, we want to explore the students’ abilities, talent and interests.”
Ambassador of Turkiye to Brunei Darussalam Professor Dr Hamit Ersoy, High Commissioner of Canada to Brunei Darussalam Ambra Dickie and Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy in Brunei Darussalam Emily Fleckner were among those present at the launch yesterday.
The Art for All exhibition is open to the public until December 31, from Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 8pm.