SINGAPORE - Tickets go on sale today (Jan 11) for Singapore's first festival for artistes with disabilities.
True Colours Festival brings together some 20 artistes and troupes from around the world to perform over three days at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, as well as a nearby outdoor festival village.
These include New Zealand wheelchair dancer Rodney Bell; Canadian virtuoso violinist Adrian Anantawan, who was born without a right hand; and Ma Li and Zhai Xiaowei, the first pair of dancers with disabilities ever to enter China's CCTV Dance Contest.
The festival will also host the inaugural Arts And Disability International Conference, a one-and-a-half day event on March 22 and 23 with 400 or so participants.
The festival is presented by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) and Japan-based philanthropic organisation The Nippon Foundation (TNF).
Unesco knowledge societies division director Dr Indrajit Banerjee says: "Government policies, legislation and development planning help create more inclusiveness and opportunity, but the arts have a power all their own.
"Performing arts celebrations such as True Colours Festival play an important role in effecting change in the social and cultural spheres of society too."
Hearing-impaired pianist Azariah Tan, 26, who will be performing both in a solo segment and together with Anantawan, says: "I hope that this festival will encourage people to look at persons with disabilities in a different light, one that focuses on their potential and possibilities rather than their imperfections."
A cappella beatboxer Danial Bawthan, 23, who has muscular dystrophy and is a wheelchair user, will be performing his own composition at the festival.
He says: "I hope that society will take a deeper look into us beyond the tools we use. Perhaps they'll view us equally and if not, more."
BOOK IT/TRUE COLOURS FESTIVAL
WHERE: Singapore Indoor Stadium, 2 Stadium Walk
WHEN: March 23 to 25, various timings
ADMISSION: $30 from www.sportshubtix.sg