First festival here for artistes with disabilities

He felt he was different after he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy when he was four, but in his teens, Mr Danial Bawthan found his voice in music.

At a press conference yesterday, the 23-year-old wheelchair-using a cappella beatboxer and hip hop music producer was unveiled as one of Singapore's representatives at the first festival for artistes with disabilities, to be held here next year.

True Colours Festival for Artistes with Disabilities will run from March 22 to 25 and is presented by the Nippon Foundation and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

The festival, held in four Asean countries since 2006, features excellence in the arts by disabled performers. The four-day festival includes indoor and outdoor performances and a day-long conference on arts and disabilities.

Mr Bawthan said: "I want to be a living proof to the next generation of the disabled in society, to show them that I chose to follow my dreams and so can they."


Beatboxer Danial Bawthan will perform at the four-day True Colours Festival, which aims to draw over 15,000 people. PHOTO: TRUE COLOURS

The festival's organisers hope to achieve that. Unesco director Indrajit Banerjee said: "Those with disabilities will be inspired by the festival's artistes to push beyond perceived notions of their limitations."

Andrew Liew, the chairman of the event producer, local charity organisation Very Special Arts (VSA), said the festival is a "world-class event" in a "world-class venue".

The organisers hope to draw over 15,000 people from around the world. VSA is still keen on engaging partners and volunteers to organise the event. For details, visit www.truecolours.sg.

Winnie Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2017, with the headline 'First festival here for artistes with disabilities'. Print Edition | Subscribe