Location: 1 Lorong Batawi, Singapore. Duration: 5.5 days
Dates: August 9, 10, 11, 12, 18, 19 Year : 2018.
Dimensions: Wall A= 9m x 2m, Wall B= 8.3m x 2.4m, Wall C = 15m x 0.8m, Wall D=1.85m x 0.8m.
When I was first asked to do this, I felt compelled to do it cos I am first and foremost, a mother and knows how parents feel when a child has such special needs. I went down and saw the wall and decided to do not one, but continue onto the next and realised there are actually three and a half walls in total -- the second runs continuously toward the smaller road which leads to the entrance of the building.
Both brother and sister wanted to open another venue for parents and their children providing them with therapy, help the child be trained, get an education as they could not fit into the 'normal' schools and eventually, be able to fend for themselves when they become adults. As there are not many such private institutions where there are experienced teachers, the opening of this school speaks volumes of the want and necessity. I do not have the figures of how many children there are in Singapore but I really wanted to do my part this way and as best as I know how.
Besides children, he also rescued two abandoned dogs and an old retired police dog. Hence their faces on the third wall.
I chose images that are endearing and display a mother's deep love for her child regardless...their love is truly unconditional. These are images that speak and shout of Hope, Support and Perseverance, and never ending Love.
The owner's love for the dogs is unconditional, and so is a parent's love for their child. This wall has many metaphors that are meaningful to the owner as well as me. There are just too many things that happened during the days that seem miraculous, unexplained and not mere coincidences. As you browse the pictures, you will see what I mean...Below are a few and they are not in order of occurrences...Not sure if they can be considered as miracles but it's just the timing too for some of these happenings that seem to fall into place and somehow looks as if it's meant to be...The coming together of all into these 5 and a half days! Hard to believe but true and I had to quickly put these down to words before I forget.
1 - Good, fine weather with no rain throughout the 5.5 days from Aug 9-19 except that it rained for just 10 mins on Aug 18 and I was praying to the One up there to hold it till after the project. On the last day, August 19 - it started to rain only AFTER we finished in the early evening.
2 - Samaritan #1 - Mr Lee, the contractor who provided the big umbrella as shelter cos the sun is just too hot and I nearly got sun burnt in both shoulders. It's hard to view the references under the hot sun too.
3. Samaritan #2 - Karen -- one of many friends I made -- who bought us cooling drinks and snacks which serve as a good respite for a short while.
4 - This building sits right smack at the cross road giving it lots of attention and exposure to the public and traffic. Each time I paint on the first wall, I hear cars honking asking those in front to move cos it's really a traffic stopper seeing me in action!
5 - The timing of the Chinese program 'Morning Express' coincided with the commencement of this project and the crew came down and started filming for three days.
6 - One of the ladies who walked by on Sunday morning happened to have the same Chinese name as my sister Poh Gek and what's funny is she has the same Chinese name as me ie. Poh Choo! Now how often do you get this type of coincidences?
7 - Brandon's ex-colleague lives a few houses away and Lawrence, her father came by and talked to us earlier. It's been some time since they kept in touch!
8 - On Day 1 - there is this lady who came and bought us and the crew egg tarts! There was a feeling of community or kampung feel as the people gathered around and created a buzz as this is probably the first time they encountered a mural. She is known as the 'egg-tart' lady. We met her again on Day 2 and 3 again as she was passing by. She said she had to stop by the wall each time she walks by.
9 - Day 1 - the first passerby was interviewed by the crew as she was appreciating the work on the tree on second wall. I was inspired to paint the leaves downwards from the tree which is believed to be a mango tree (but no fruits). I was wondering what to add on the wall and as I looked up, it seemed the leaves were talking and telling me to paint them! Wisdom from above!
10 - Sunflowers were also ad hoc and painted there and then giving a message of Hope. Hope for him, for them, for me, for all of us... It was also Vincent Van Gogh's favourite flower and yellow was also his fav color. There are hints of impressionism here featuring his works. I also subtlely added swirls to the clouds.
11 - The third wall where the dogs are - also added there and then and again, inspiration hit me and something tells me to do a French landscape with Arles as a reference and adding the cypresses making me go back to when I was last there this April. Missing the tranquility and peace the place offers...
12 - Samaritan I#3 - Brandon Liu owner of Autism21 - he made sure I had enough water to hydrate and constantly checked on me and also assisted with the washing of the brushes, filling of paint onto the palette, etc. He also transported me on the first day with all that paint, and even provided lunch.
13 - Meeting Heizi the German Shepherd who was brought over and seeing him up close made me felt a bit emotional as I tell myself that even for animals, they do have feelings and they feel the pain of old age. Likewise for humans, we grow old too and he is fortunate to have his owner take care of him. When I first saw him on the floor, I was awed by this beautiful animal.
14 - This Indian art teacher whose son is ADHD and was walking by and she remarked she could use this place for such kids too.
15 - Last but not least, I was amazed that I was able to accomplish this within a week! I thought at first with two walls, I estimated to finish in two days and with 3.5 long walls, it stretched a little longer than targeted. I am grateful for health, strength, support from all, and wisdom!
I see images of love and more love each day and this will forever be etched in my mind...
I hope the viewer will feel the same way and a sense of not only a mother's love but love for all including animals too from this work and their hearts touched. I trust this brings them back to the time when they were young and when their parents were still around. And for those whose parents (and pets and those dear to them) are still around, treasure them and spend time with them whenever and wherever you are. We never know how much we missed them until they passed on.
Life is indeed fleeting and another message from the wall is to always remember to express our love to our family members not only in action but in words too.
Much love and peace to all families.