Performances in Thailand
  • A report by Dr Anupama Singh, MBBS, Executive Member of A.L.P.A.N.A. on her participation in the “Art for all: Celebrating Diversity” organized from 14th to 18th July 2011, in Thailand

  • Ministry of Culture of Thailand in collaboration with “Art for All” Foundation and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP) hosted the "Art for All 2011: Celebrating Diversity” on 14-18 July 2011 at United Nations Conference Centre, Bangkok and Wangree Resort, Nakorn Nayok Province. The main purpose of the “Art for All” project is to promote art activities among children and youth with different disabilities in order to bring out their full potentials so that they may be able to cope better with the world outside. With continual support from UNESCAP, “Art for All” has achieved its major objective in promoting art activities amongst the children and youth with different disabilities giving them the opportunity to develop their potential for a better chance in life.

On invitation from Prof. Dr. Channarong Pornrungroj, President, ‘Art for All Foundation’, the Executive Committee of the A.L.P.A.N.A. nominated Dr Anupama Singh, MBBS to attend the programme representing A.L.P.A.N.A.

The detailed report of the said programme and visit is as follows:

I arrived at Bangkok on 13th July night to attend the art for all camp and was received by Ms Borimas Srikhajon and was taken to hotel Trang where international delegates were accommodated.

  • 14th July - After breakfast at 7am, the International delegates were escorted to the United Nations Center, for the opening ceremony.

Delegates were invited from ASEAN and Dialogue countries like Brunei Darussalam, Laos PDR, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan and India.

8:00-9:00 hrs- Registration and refreshments

Teachers, semi-professional youth, art instructors, international participants and Volunteers of ‘art for all foundation’, children and young people who were blind, deaf, physically, mentally & socially abused young people, chronically ill, genius including able young people gathered in the lobby of the UN center.

Many children were in colourful traditional costumes of Thailand and in colourful T- shirts. Screening of Art for All video was also organized.

9 :00 to 12.00 hrs- The opening ceremony

The opening ceremony started with a soul calling ceremony called Sri Khwan or Bai Sri Puk khwan,Prof.Emeritus Ampai Sucharitakul introduced Bai Sri ceremony. It is a traditional ceremony which started with recitation of soul calling song. Bai Sri kwan parade took place in which all the participants were tied white string around the wrist. It is performed to welcome new people and call back the twan, the higher spirits to tell them to make themselves at home.

10:30-11:00hrs- Invocation

The Invocation was performed by Nun Sansanee Sateerasut and hand signs were taught for hello, sorry, thank you, you are beautiful etc. some exercises for relaxation were demonstrated by her.

11:00-11:05hrs- Art for All students performed a dance in traditional folk costumes.

11:05hrs- We were shifted to a conference hall where distinguished guests were welcomed and the following were the highlights of this event: Welcoming statement by Mr.Shun-ichi Murata,deputy executive secretary ESCAP. Statement by Mr.Khemchat Thepchai,Inspector General to the ministry of culture, Government of Thailand. Statement by Dr.Channarong Pornrungroj,President, Art for all foundation. Key note address by H.E. Mr.Anand Panyarachun,Former Prime Minister of Thailand. Presentation of Certificates to 5 donors. Group Photograph.

Departure from UN Center for the camp site at Wangree Resort,Nakorn Nayok Province.

Art for all Project was initiated by Prof. Dr.Channarong Pornrungroj in year 1999. The main event of the programme was an art camp where disabled and non disabled joined together to take part in different activities and exchanged art and culture. After two and a half hours drive from Bangkok, passing through beautiful countryside of Thailand we reached Wangree Resort, a beautiful and exotic place, surrounded by hills and trees all around. After dinner we retired to our rooms to meet the next day at 7am.

  • 15th July- After breakfast, the International delegates got together in a meeting room. 9:00hrs-the programme started with introduction of delegates with each other and with the President of art for all and its organizing staff.

Representatives of each country gave brief introduction of themselves and their organization.

Brunei Darussalam- Mr.Zailani Bin Abdullah and Mr Mahaddin Bin Hajimatzain,art instructor said their main focus is on giving basic skill training to the disabled in order to make them financially independent. Mr.Mohd.Zulafendy Bin Mohd Sufri a young artist who is deaf and dumb accompanied them.

India- I, introduced A.L.P.A.N.A. organization, briefly presented its profile, activities, aims and goals. Screened the DVD which shows the work of Mrs. Alpana Nayak , the president of organization who is also a dance teacher to the disabled and abled children. I explained the therapeutic potential of Indian classical dance and music in improving the condition of challenged people.

I thanked Art for All foundation for the invitation and wished everyone all the best to come together, to exchange experience and works done at different levels for the great cause of helping the challenged people.

Japan- Ms.Yumiko Muramatsu and Mr.Tetsuya Tanabe both artists spoke on how they help some organizations by their work as an interpreter and a photographer and that they looked forward to share their work in the camp.

Lao PDR- Mr.Tiane Vilayphonechith, Mr.Saykham Oudomsouk,Mr.Anousith Silisouk thanked Art for All for the invitation and said they want to teach their work and art to the students.

Malaysia- Ms Tan Hui Koon was very happy to be part of the camp and was curious to learn many things in the coming days. Ms.Tan See Ling an artist gave a picture of how she manages to teach disable people painting and creative art along with running a studio for art and she said she would like to teach some creative art to the delegates and other participants. Damien Wong and his mother Mr. Nora Tan Siew May were there to learn more in the camp to use that knowledge to help his son who is disabled and a dancer.

Philippines- Ms.Teresa Quintalanilla an interpreter accompanied Ms.Myra Medrana a choreographer and a trainer and Ms Maria Elena N.Lozada a young artist, who are both deaf and dumb. With the help of sign language through the interpreter it was conveyed that they were enthusiastic to exchange their views on the work to be done for the betterment of deaf and dumb in every country and also were ready to teach contemporary dance to students in the camp.

Singapore- Ms.Tan Li Hwa,Jo was very much keen to collect knowledge on the what and how of organizations that work for disabled people in other countries. Mr.Zhong Chen Zuan had come with his nephew Kenneth Lee who is a creative artist.

Vietnam- Mr Ngo Quang Vinh, Mr.Nguyen Trong Thuy, Vo Hoang Viet thanked art for all foundation for the invitation. They had come prepared to teach dance and songs to disabled participants.

President of Art for All Foundation, Dr. Channarong Pornurangroj welcomed the delegates and taught some important thai words to be used daiy such as: Sawadee,Khortod, Khob khun, krub-male, kaa-female.

After this session we were taken around the camp area to observe the arrangements and activities of the camp.

12:00-13:00hrs- Lunch

13:00-14:15hrs- Preparation for sharing session with Dr. Suchart Vongthong who is a thai artist and resource person, gave us the basic idea about sharing and a recreation session.

14:15-14:45hrs- Coffee break

14:45-16:00hrs- Delegates joined teachers, art administrators, resource persons of different schools and organizations of Thailand in a big hall. International delegates introduced themselves and everyone shared their work and experiences working for the specially gifted people.

16:00-17:00hrs- Delegates were to reach the site for recreation session. Many students and participants were drawing and painting. We went around to observe their work and many of these works were outstanding.

Then we were to go to dark room and by touching the engraved figures on the walls we had to recognize their shape and originality.

To recognize any figure just by touching in the darkness is a difficult task and moreover it was a bit scary too! When we came out of the room we realized how lucky we are to have vision and we all thanked god and prayed to god to give strength and bless who are blind and disabled.

We were given sheets to draw whatever we could imagine and guess about those engraved figures.

17:00-18:30hrs- Dinner

19:00-20:30hrs- After dinner all the participants got together in the main hall to be part of the prayer which was to be performed by the thai participants, students of art for all foundation and it was headed by the President of Art for all Foundation

15th july was a ASALHA puja day,a Buddhist national holiday. After this ritual was over , we were asked to get together in the lawns for lighting the lantern which is not only a symbol of worshiping the Lord Budha and relics in heaven but when a lighted lantern is floated in the sky it is believed to take away bad luck and make all wishes to come true. Many lanterns had covered the sky above making it a wonderful sight to see as if stars themselves had descended to earth.

After this jubilant time we all headed back to our respective rooms to meet again next day at 7am.

  • 16th July- After breakfast we prepared our plan for the teaching session and workshop for Thai youth participants. Vietnam and Philippines were to conduct workshop on 16th july;

Laos PDR and Japan were to conduct workshop on 17th July at 1.15 hrs. We all were asked to reach the site for puppet show performed by Thai artists and the Puppet show was very colorful and enjoyable.

After lunch we all were at the recreation site. It was decided that during lunch time for 40-45 minutes we had to keep quiet with no talks at all to help us realize the difficulties faced by vocally disabled persons.

A Vietnam artist taught steps of dance to disabled students of art for all foundation. Philippine choreographer and dancer taught contemporary dance to the students.

After the workshop was over we were to be blind folded for 15 minutes and had to reach from the meeting room to the main hall holding each other’s hands.

After dinner we all joined the Thai youth performers in the main hall for entertainment programme of songs and dance.

We retired to our rooms after having great fun and enjoying the dancing and singing.

  • 17th July- Delegates met at breakfast and started with preparation for teaching and workshop session.

In the other hall we were to have interaction with teachers, art instructors, artists of different schools and organizations of Thailand. Delegates spoke about their experiences and work in the field of working for disabled people.

8 groups of Thai participants were made and international delegates were asked to choose one of them as per their choice. Every group had to use imagination to create a painting or make an art piece indicating celebrating diversity, unity in diversity as a theme. We all went out in the lawns to start with the task and it was indeed a very entertaining and learning period for all of us.

During lunch time again we had to keep silent.

After lunch we were at recreation site where Laos artists taught making models from waste products and artists from Japan taught gift wrapping and kimono tying.

After coffee break we enjoyed baby mime by Thai young artists.

After dinner we all were to get together for farewell function. International delegates presented souvenir of their organization or country to the President of the Art for all foundation.

It was time for fun and frolic and the farewell performance was by yak Q group. There was a very unique game of throwing balls of thread from one side to another so that it made a net which indicated that we all came here to unite and to do good and work towards our goal.

We all bid goodbye to each other to meet again next year.

  • 18th July- After breakfast we had a session of reflection and sharing our experiences ; suggest recommendations by filling a form inviting all kinds of feedback negative or positive.

Later we had a group photograph session and checked out from Wangree resort and reached Bangkok where after the farewell lunch we checked in at the Grand Mercure Fortune Hotel, Bangkok. From hereon, we had the time to ourselves for shopping and sightseeing in Bangkok and I left early morning at 5am on 19th July for New Delhi, India.

This camp was a unique event which brought together people from different countries, helped the disabled in peer learning and gave them encouragement and support. Such events give us the renewed strength to continue working hard to make a difference in the lives of the disabled and spread the joy of life and happiness.

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