Published on 21 Oct 2021
Sketchbooks, art block, pencils and magic markers – these are the everyday staples of Mr Perithamby, who does not go a day without a drawing.
88-year-old Mr Perithamby first joined NTUC Health’s Day Centre for Seniors at Radin Mas in January 2021. In the beginning, staff observed that he was soft spoken, polite, quiet and kept mostly to himself. But it was when Mr Perithamby first visualised his ideas of the theme ‘People’ during the Housing Development Board’s Community Art Project, that we discovered his love for drawing.
While other seniors are resting during nap time or warming up for daily exercises, Mr Perithamby can often be found sketching and filling in colours in his sketchbook. When asked about his drawings, his eyes light up at the opportunity to flip through the albums in his smartphone and recount the joy of creating every art piece. “Drawing takes me away from worries and it has changed my life a lot. I feel very happy,” Mr Perithamby explains.
Despite describing his own work as ‘kindergarten-level’, Mr Perithamby believes he can improve his skills over time. To support him, his family has supplied him with more drawing materials such as markers and drawing papers. Previously worried that he would be bored staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, his daughter is now assured that he is doing something that keeps him occupied and happy. “Time passes by very fast when I am busy”, he described.
Before retiring at 65 years old, Mr Perithamby worked as a crane operator at PSA for 45 years, jokingly calling himself the “best crane operator” there was. With such a job that demands high levels of concentration and precision, it is no wonder he retains the patience needed to sustain hours of such detailed technique in his art. “I’m impressed with his delicate skills and want to encourage him to develop it further. I hope he is able to try abstract art and express his feelings through it.” said Centre Manager for Day Centre for Seniors (Radin Mas) Ms Amy Teo.
“Participation in the HDB Community Art Project was not about winning, but about trying something new and enabling our seniors to feel proud of contributing to a community project,” said Ms Amy Teo. “We plan to have an art space to showcase Mr Perithamby’s unique pieces that will also encourage other seniors to discover their hidden abilities and potential,” she said.
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