For years we have been working with Care Corner at their various senior citizen centres around Singapore, collaborating with them as we conduct our Project Homeworks, cleaning up the houses of the elderly that they have recommended. One of these centers we have been especially close with is at Block 170, Toa Payoh Lorong 1.
In my many visists to the centre, I observed that the elderly were gathered together to participate in activities ranging from games to simple craft work. I thought that they could be engaged in something more substantial, and so began to see if they could be taught to use digital cameras to take photographs. The idea is to help them appreciate everything around them via a photographer's eye, recognizing the beauty of the world, the patterns all around us, the intriguing people we meet everyday. So I started the photography lessons with sponsored equipment, and brought in other volunteers to help me.
Along the way, I found out that Phebe See, the center manager has also taught the elderly to paint very impressive art pieces.
So one thing led to another, and on 17th of October 2015, we held an art and photography exhibition in partnership with Care Corner at Clarke Quay Central, exhibiting 30 photos and 20 paintings by the elderly. It was a resounding success! The elderly put up two dance items, and were very excited about their own work being exhibited. Our guest of honour, Mrs Josephine Teo (Senior Minister of State) was so impressed that she pledged donations for some of the art pieces, and encouraged me to expand this project to more elderly around the country.
We were all pleasantly surprised that the elderly could produce very good photographs and paintings. It goes to show that one is never too old to learn, and that we can always seek to find the creative child inside each one of us, and release him/her to accomplish remarkable things!
So watch out, maybe another exhibition will be coming near you soon!