Raising the Visibility of Artists with Disabilities
Speech by Ms Low Yeng Ling, Minister of State, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Trade and Industry, at UOL X ART:DIS Art Prize 2023 Award Ceremony
29 September 2023
Good afternoon. I am very happy to join you today for the inaugural UOL X ART:DIS Art Prize Award Ceremony.
ART:DIS’ contribution to the sector
ART:DIS, formerly known as Very Special Arts, marks its 30 th anniversary this year. On behalf of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, our heartiest congratulations on reaching this very significant milestone! ART:DIS has consistently created more accessible art-making and training spaces for persons with disabilities. It has also contributed to our growing and diverse landscape of independent art spaces.
ART:DIS has raised the bar for improving access to the arts for persons with disabilities. Their partnership with the National Arts Council has helped to forge deeper collaboration and understanding between the disability and arts sectors through Inclusive Masterclasses, the Inclusive Arts Residency Project and the Arts & Disability Forum. I would like to commend ART:DIS for their achievements and their dedication to advancing inclusion through the arts for persons with disabilities in Singapore.
Recognition of Artistic Talent with disabilities
Art plays a vital role in our lives. It is also an expression of our shared culture and values. Most of all, art unites us as a country. One of the goals of the Enabling Masterplan 2030 is for persons with disabilities to have regular opportunities to showcase their talents, and also to participate or volunteer in arts and heritage activities. The Government is committed to working with the sector to provide more of such opportunities.
Besides creating inclusive art offerings for persons with disabilities, we also hope to enable artists with disabilities to pursue their aspirations in the arts. I am heartened to see organisations like UOL and ART:DIS coming together to provide platforms for artists with disabilities to showcase their work to a wider audience. The UOL X ART:DIS Art Prize is the only award of this scale in Singapore that is singularly focused on raising the visibility of artists with disabilities. I hope members of the public and companies will lend their support in recognising and honouring our artists with disabilities.
Artists with disabilities have contributed greatly to our local arts scene. One example is the late Chng Seok Tin, who was awarded the Cultural Medallion Award, Singapore’s highest arts accolade for her artistic excellence and innovations in art.
Just last year, Yuki Neoh, a young hard-of-hearing aspiring theatremaker, was awarded the National Arts Council scholarship to further her studies in the UK. We aim to nurture more talents with disabilities and hope to see more of such artists contributing to the growth of Singapore’s diverse and inclusive arts and culture landscape.
Strong Corporate Support & Partnerships Valued
Strong partnerships across the people, private and public sectors play a vital role in empowering persons with disabilities in the arts. We appreciate how UOL is supporting the arts in various ways. Last year, UOL was recognised as a Distinguished Patron of the Arts for its contribution to the local arts scene. UOL’s strong support for artists with disabilities through its partnership with ART:DIS in presenting the UOL X ART:DIS Art Prize is another inspiring and excellent example of the company’s commitment to the arts.
Strong corporate support is critical for the work of charities in Singapore. Partnerships with the private sector enable non-profits to raise their visibility and amplify their cause. We really want to encourage more corporates to step forward and contribute to the efforts of charities and improve our society together. By joining hands as one, we can achieve so much more together.
Congratulations to all the inaugural UOL X ART:DIS Art Prize winners! We are so proud of you. Your talent, determination and dedication really inspire us. May you continue to develop your artistic skills and talents to the fullest potential. Through your art, the world can be made a better place. Let’s all make Singapore an inclusive home where the arts flourish for all.