Playing With & For The Community
These young people engage in -Net Club after school hours to participate in community related activities in dance, music and now in Visual Art. T-Net offers these teenagers a place to belong after school.
I was there to give a workshop 3 days before the actual painting of the workshop. I had to guide the boys to come up with a theme that they wanted for the mural and an idea of the drawing. When I first met them, they were a group of energetic youths who had alot of creativity and ideas to offer. (They did remind me of the secondary school students I used to teach some years ago in public schools, so I had some kind of experience in handling really active boys!)
Stephanie was with me during the first workshop and I think it is her first time interacting with Singaporean Teenagers. She enjoyed how they boys were eager to draw but also they needed alot of pushing and guidance. (I will load pictures of the workshop at a later time!)
My workshop started with a simple introduction of myself and the aim of the activity. Then I asked what kind of sport the boys enjoyed and the told me they like soccer and skateboarding! (Hurray, long live the legend of skate) I told them we could combine the two sport in the mural and add elements of athletes together but they didn’t like the idea (Oh the horror of several closed minds!) So I had to work on skateboarding in the end which was a good thing anyway as I enjoy skateboarding as well and should one day be able to try my feet at it I can imagine….
I started them off by teaching them to draw the human body using reference images I found off the net which they could visually see and copy. I could not do a detailed workshop in 4 hours so had to work the best way to my ability. The boys copied to their best ability as well and then we had a break before starting on colours. I wanted to teach well the colour part as it was important for them to learn basics about colour; primary, secondary, complimentary colours and contrasting colours as I would like them to decide the colour scheme of the mural too. Unfortunately it was rather difficult to get their attention after the drawing part when they started showing their inattentive minds, shifting behaviors and restless speech.
After another short break, I got them to piece together their drawings of the individual skateboard figures and made a layout of how we will place the drawings on the mural wall. They had ownership as to where the figures will go. The workshop ended slightly earlier than expected so I hope the club and CC were ok with that! Before I went back, I was told maybe some of the boys may not come for the painting on Saturday so I quickly called Safrie to see if he could help me on Saturday with the mural. It is usually a practice I have to have a back-up plan should anything happen for the programme etc. I left that workshop pretty excited about the mural painting on Saturday.
Saturday came and I was once again back at T-net Club only this time with
I had asked Safrie earlier to join me in this mural session as I know he would connect well with the youths and he did! The boys loved him while he was guiding them in the painting too. We started out by sketching the idea on the wall. (Oh the skateboarding idea was not approved so we took away the skateboard and just used the body in the layout). We took about an hr and half to sketch and then decide on some of the colour scheme and placement before getting the boys to come paint on the wall.
The whole mural took us from 2pm to 8pm to finish and we were so exhausted by the time it was done. MP Mr Lim Swee Say came to see the mural and was taking many pictures of the mural as well as talking to Saf and me and the teenagers too. It was a good initiative that T-Net Club started for teenagers to engage in Art Activities and an experience for both of us to work with these young people.
We hope we can come up with more interesting ideas and discussions on engaging young people in art and community activities in the area in the future!
Many thanks to People’s Association, Bedok Community Club and T-Net Club!