NDP 2020: Special brooch and scarf worn by President Halimah feature artwork by persons with disabilities

President Halimah Yacob wearing a silk-cotton scarf and enamel brooch featuring designs adapted from artwork by artists from SAVH.
President Halimah Yacob wearing a silk-cotton scarf and enamel brooch featuring designs adapted from artwork by artists from SAVH.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - Sharp-eyed Singaporeans would have spotted the unique designs on the red-and-white silk cotton scarf and colourful enamel brooch that President Halimah Yacob donned at the Padang parade on Sunday morning (Aug 9).

Both accessories incorporated the designs of two artists with visual impairments - Ms Katy Lee, 70, and Ms Adeline Vejaletchmy, 58 - from the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped.

Their artwork reflects their love for Singapore and is also featured among the 20 designs for this year's NDP packs.

Ms Lee's design, titled Colours Of My Country, features the colours red, blue and green, and incorporates high-rise buildings and trees.

"Red is associated with vibrancy and life... while blue represents safety and security as well as clear blue skies," she said.

"Green - I love our gardens and parks, we're a small country but we have so much greenery," said Ms Lee, adding that her favourite park is the Botanic Gardens, where she often goes on walks, to people-watch or doodle a quick sketch.

Ms Lee lost vision in her right eye in 1995 after an operation to remove a tumour in her optic nerves, and has tunnel vision in her left eye.

Madam Halimah's accessories also bore a design by Ms Adeline, who lost sight in her right eye and 60 per cent of the vision in her left eye after a high fever when she was three years old.

Ms Adeline said that her design - featuring four figures holding hands - was a reflection of racial harmony, a hallmark of Singapore she feels most strongly about.

She has lived in her Ang Mo Kio flat for more than 20 years, and has neighbours of different races that she has got to know well.

"I even named the child of one of my neighbours, Joshua," said Ms Adeline. Joshua is now four, she added.


Both accessories incorporated the designs of two artists with visual impairments. PHOTOS: I'MABLE COLLECTIVE

She created the design by tearing up coloured paper into small pieces to form the shapes of the four figures.

Both artists, who came up with their designs in a day, said that they were honoured to have their designs worn by President Halimah.

 
 

Ms Lee added that it was a "dream come true" to know that the President herself endorsed artwork by people with disabilities.

"I hope it will inspire other persons with disabilities. It has always been my vision for Singapore to be a more inclusive society," said Ms Lee.

Madam Halimah said she was glad that people with disabilities could showcase their creative potential and original artworks through this year's National Day Parade.

She added: "The collaboration between i'mable Collective and local enterprise makers promotes a broader culture of inclusivity, and shows that disability is not a barrier to opportunity.

"I hope that more partners and corporates from various sectors can support the Collective's work, to empower persons with disabilities in achieving their fullest potential."


Ms Adeline Vejaletchmy and Ms Katy Lee from the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped. Their artwork is featured among the 20 designs for this year's NDP packs. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

The scarf also included detailed embroidery by social enterprise Singapore Fashion Runway's embroidery artist Ng Xiuzhen, who is deaf and has cerebral palsy.

Both designs were adapted and crafted into the accessories by local brands Binary Style and Royal Insignia.

 
 

The items are presented by SG Enable's i'mable Collective, which aims to grow a community of artists and makers with disabilities and showcase their talent through quality merchandise.

The i'mable Collective is also working with Binary Style to launch a scarf capsule collection featuring more designs as well as the original worn by President Halimah.