Art for Noah's Ark

Ian Chua presents, Noah's Ark, a
handicraft specially made for this event
A passion for art and animals

Did you know that the putting down of unwanted pets is the number one killer of animals in Malaysia? Over the years, the shooting of stray dogs has cost the government thousands of Ringgit but it has not solved the problem.  That is why Noah's Ark Animal Shelter or NANAS, strongly advocates mass sterilisation and proper legislation through micro-chipping as a more effective and humane solution.

As long as cats and dogs are allowed to self-propagate or bred and later set free due to owner irresponsibility, there is no shelter with space large enough to house every stray cat or dog.  Pet owners and animal lovers must be educated on this and be responsible to sterilise their pets to avoid another unwanted litter of kittens or puppies.  With their responsible attitude and support, the number of strays can be successfully limited.

Jessica Chia with portraits of the residents of Noah's Ark
Jessica Chia, a graduate of Chapman Art School, who shares a commitment to NANAS’s aims, mooted the idea to hold an art fair, not only to raise funds to meet its operational costs but also to raise awareness of what NANAS is doing for animal pets in Johor.  Working in partnership with EightLido as the venue sponsor, she organised a group of local artists and artisans to showcase their art and handicrafts with the proceeds from sales contributed to NANAS.  On Nov 28, art and animal lovers came together for the Art for Noah’s Ark event at EightLido, a chic restaurant lounge housed in a bungalow along Lido Beach.

Art teachers from Page One Academy with
 painted glass handicrafts, [Seated L to R]
Emma Tey, Fragrant Yap and David Choo
[Standing Left] Elvis Liau and Shin Toh
NANAS is a registered society that aims to reduce the number of strays on our streets through sterilisation.  In the sprawling 10-acre shelter located in Pekan Nanas, rescued, unwanted animals are provided with their daily needs and a place to live and die with dignity. They have several projects like the Sterilise Our Street Cats and Dogs or SOS Cats and SOS Dogs projects in residential areas and Animal Birth Control (ABC) mobile clinics to remote villages but all these fully-subsidised projects need operational funds.

“Noah's Ark is not a pet dumping ground,” said Raymund Wee, 62, president of NANAS, explaining that pets enjoy the attention given and want to be with people.  His passion for the care and well-being of animals drove him to set up the animal shelter with clinics and projects to educate people in managing their pets and started Humane Education Clubs in schools.  He believes that these are small steps in the right direction to help reduce the number of stray animals on our streets.

Nina Lai [Left] discussing the features of her
hand-tooled leather purse with a customer
“These artists have a passion and commitment for their art and handicrafts,” said Wee, impressed that the artists’ attitude is a reflection of his own passion for the care of animals.  He appreciated the artists’ concern for animals and their generosity to contribute towards the fund-raiser for NANAS.  “The art fair is an excellent platform to introduce the work of NANAS while shoppers admire and acquire pieces of unique art or handicraft,” he added. 

“This is the first time EightLido is hosting a fund-raising art fair that features local artists and live bands,” said Audrey Tan, EightLido’s events and media manager. 

Jess Chia from Deafotology sketching
from a photo of a pet dog
She was happy to see the convivial mood in EightLido as regulars and shoppers enjoyed a special shopping experience to the beat of cool music.  The animal theme was enhanced by the presence of furry, four-legged friends that pet owners brought along to the event.

Jessica Chia better known as JC, presented “Tenacious D(ogs),” a collection of silk-screen portraits of cats and dogs created from photos taken of the residents of Noah's Ark, for sale.  Ian Chua of Serendipity Studios created, “Noah’s Ark,” a unique 3-dimensional handicraft out of folded paper, especially for the event.  Chua, an animator by profession, enjoys a hobby in creating crafts out of paper and had a series of easy-to-fold paper animals for sale at this event. 

Jess Chia a hearing impaired artist from “Deafotology,” showcased her paintings of animals and sketches from photos of pets.  Interesting handicrafts for sale included “Art You Can Eat”, creatively shaped iced cookies by Faye Sing Hao Fei of Feimila, pretty handmade jewellery and fashion accessories by Isly Lee of “Islyly” as well as “Evangelione” collectible dolls by Yeo Mei Ying and “Kuri” hand-tooled leather purses and handbags by Nina Lai. 

Yeo Mei Ying presenting her range of Evangelione collectible dolls
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Ireen Tan of Miss Ireen Handmade with her unique collection of handicrafts

The Princess Costume, 3-D art created from coloured rice grains by artist, Clayrene Chan
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Sofia Cole with her collection of wearable art or danglies [Right]
paintings and intricately designed coronets

Isly Lee of Islyly Enterprise

Exciting handicrafts for sale ranged from painted glass jars and limited edition cruet sets by a group of art teachers from Page One Academy to meticulously made 3-D art entitled, the “Princess Costume,” created from coloured rice grains by artist Clayrene Chan. 

Unique and intricate wearable art and fashion accessories for hair and outfits by artists, Ireen Tan Cheew Yee and Sofia Cole drew much attention as their creations are perfect for dressing-up party clothes. 

It was not long before many at EightLido were spotted wearing some of these artists’ creations – a truly encouraging sight as they were appreciating wearable art while contributing towards a worthy cause.

A version of this article was published in The New Straits Times, Johor Streets on 18 December 2012

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