24  October 2012  - 19:13
Disabled artists achieve RM20K sales at Maybank exhibition

A group of People with Disabilities (PWD) proved that they can earn a living using their artistic skills when they sold 19 paintings amounting to some RM20,000 to the members of the public and Maybank employees. Their artistic works were on display through an exhibition entitled ‘Nurkilan Jiwaku” during a 3-day exhibition at Menara Maybank. The exhibition was the result of a unique collaboration between Maybank Foundation, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and the Malaysian Council of Rehabilitation.

'Nurkilan Jiwaku’ is a project which aims to empower PWD to become economically self-sufficient. Through this project, skilled training and opportunities are provided to help them own businesses and generate sustained income. The project was spearheaded by employees of Maybank’s Group Risk and Credit Management Department as part of their employee volunteerism project. The initial capital to start-up the project was provided by Maybank Foundation.

Dr John Lee Hin Hock, Group Chief Risk Officer, Maybank, said “Our intention in undertaking this project was to provide the PWD with the opportunity to use their skills and build a livelihood. The quality of the works were amazing and we are thrilled with the response.A few paintings were snapped up almost immediately after we opened the exhibition to the public. The artists not only produced beautiful and intricate artwork, but they were also of high-quality.”

“I am glad that our employees have come together to work on a such a noble effort to help PWD to be self-sustaining. Through this project, we hope it will create further business ‘spin-offs’ as they then network with other PWD from all over Malaysia to source products or sub-contract work,” said Dr John.

The exhibition held from 22 - 24 October 2012, showcased 76 paintings, handcrafts made of wicker, straw and embroidery, bobbin-work and many more. All proceeds collected from the sale were channeled to the artists.

Dr. John explained that the project team roped in the Malaysian Council of Rehabilitation - which has extensive network with organisations involving PWD - and UKM - which provided basic business skills and knowledge on finance, marketing, accounting and IT, for this programme. In addition, UKM students also assisted the PWD as part of their industrial attachments and co-curriculum activities.

He said that Maybank has been committed to supporting the arts since the 1980s, and has hosted numerous art exhibitions at its art gallery over the years. “In fact some of the renowned Malaysian artists today had their beginnings at our gallery in the 1980s and 90s,” he added.

Dr John further explained that to ensure sustainability of the project, the team leader and members from Maybank would monitor and advise the businesses in the initial stages. Thereafter, they are given completed ownership with the hope that they will develop self-generating profit entities.