Something About Home

“Something About Home”, a commission by the National Gallery Singapore as part of the Light to Night Festival 2020, features members of the Disabled Artists’ Collective in a groundbreaking professional performance by an entire cast of artists with different disabilities. Directed and conceptualised by theatre maestro, Peter Sau, “Something About Home” vehemently rejects the common exploitation of the disability narrative, pushes past the current trend of trite and contrived tokenism, and – in a determined collective effort – sets the bar higher for professionalism in the local Arts & Disability arena.

We are not ‘there’ yet – though ‘there’ is in constant development and evolution anyway – and we are still learning and growing together, but we share a common vision for better standards, greater autonomy, equity, respect and reciprocity. It is not an easy mission for everyone in the team, coming together from eclectic starting points: disabled artists with different disabilities, access needs, communication styles, thresholds and professional experience, having to adjust to one another in ways we’ve never known before, while the non-disabled support team learn alongside us as we craft a version of “access and inclusion” that is completely new, in unchartered territory. It has thus far been a robustly rich and empowering journey for all of us, and we are grateful to the National Gallery for giving us this opportunity, and to our director Peter Sau for his cogent and empathic leadership that pushes us to expand our boundaries and always places us in the forefront of empowerment.

Promenade Theatre Performance: Something About Home by Peter Sau, in collaboration with 6 pan-disabled artists.

Guided by the captains of your ship embark on a journey through 4 different islands-cities – CALIBRATION, EVOCATION, AFFIRMATION and CONTEMPLATION – before arriving at your final destination. The Ports of Call are crafted by Peter Sau in collaboration with 6 pan-disabled artists. Collective to take the audience on a sensorial journey through the themes.Hear their myths. Unravel their mysteries. Learn about their uniqueness. Be intrigued by their similarities. Acknowledge their invisibility. See beyond their disabilities. Be moved by the sonnets which are their stories. As each of the make themselves heard, seen and felt, realise they could be saying something about you and your home – our home.

The performance creatively combines Spoken English, Singapore Sign Language, Creative Captioning, and Audio Description. 

For any access inquiries, please contact us through email: access.somethingabouthome@gmail.com or text / call us: +65 97450795 at least 3 days before your visit.

Something About Home is a Light to Night Festival 2020 programme. For more information on the festival, visit lighttonight.sg

(Text taken from the Eventbrite listing page for the event)

Venue: The National Gallery Singapore
Dates & Times:
11 January 2020, Saturday: 1-2pm and 4-5pm (2 shows)
18 January 2020, Saturday: 1-2pm and 4-5pm (2 shows)

Please join us in this adventure! Free admission but registration is needed at this Eventbrite link.

More information here in the National Gallery’s website listing for performances.

Promenade Theatre Performance: Something About Home

By Peter Sau, Dawn Joy-Leong, Claire Teo and June Chua

Guided by the captains of your ship embark on a journey through 4 different islands-cities – CALIBRATION, EVOCATION, AFFIRMATION and CONTEMPLATION – before arriving at your final destination. The Ports of Call are crafted by Peter Sau in collaboration with 6 pan-disabled artists. Collective to take the audience on a sensorial journey through the themes.

Hear their myths. Unravel their mysteries. Learn about their uniqueness. Be intrigued by their similarities. Acknowledge their invisibilities. See beyond their disabilities. Be moved by the sonnets which are their stories. As each of the make themselves heard, seen and felt, realise they could be saying something about you and your home – our home.

1st Port of Call: Dawn Joy-leong (autistic) illustrates the intricacies of the art of painting. In between, she sings to give voice to the paintings and to herself.

2nd Port of Call: Claire Teo (visually impaired). A music box plays. A seer tells us about colours, faces, places and events. A scout tells us about sounds, smells, temperatures and sensations. They transform to become male and female, young and old, across time and space

3rd Port of Call: June Chua (transgender woman) urges for her lost one to return, to no avail. Like a monument, she speaks to the past, afar. Inheriting a legacy, she roots herself more firmly to carry on the dream.

4th Port of Call: Dawn Joy-leong (autistic) Cavan Chang and Timothy Lee (both with Down Syndrome) (During finale, joined by: June Chua, Claire Teo) Within a display of singing bowls, a dancer moves and strikes between them, reverberating like the waves. A dancer moves with his own visual paintings, embodying Avalokiteshvara, Virgin Mother, Vishnu, Krishna, Akbar, Christ, Sang Nila Utama and Arjuna.

The female monk stands still, looking serenely into the eyes of the onlookers. The believers, carrying mirrors, join in, creating a harmony of elated resonance.

(Text taken from the National Gallery webpage for the event.)

Footnote:

The Disabled Artists’ Collective is a collective of freelance artists who identify as disabled under the Social Model of Disability. Founded and led by Dawn-joy Leong, with professional advisor Peter Sau, and supported in spirit and kind by the Disabled People’s Association and the National Arts Council, we aim to eventually become self-sufficient and sustainable through mentoring and raising future leaders in the field. Dawn-joy is keen for this to happen soon, so she may pursue her other dream of knitting sweaters for shelter dogs in colder climates, especially for her beloved Greyhounds, who have endured and survived a terrible life as racing dogs in the cruel Greyhound racing industry.

Sonata in Z

Dawn-joy Leong and Lucy present

Sonata in Z

10-14 November 2015 | 10am-5pm

Nick Waterlow Gallery, UNSW Galleries

UNSW Art & Design, Paddington, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

An autistic human,
A greyhound dog.
Parallel Embodiments,
A journey of Being.
Endeavour of empathy,
Spaces of mind.
Sonorous communion,
Wordless interlocutions.
Enter barefoot
Scheherazade’s Sea:
Dancing
Awake
Inside dreams

Sonata in Z is a ‘gentle space’, inspired by my autistic hyper sensory quest for sanctuary, and my Greyhound Lucy’s natural ability to seek out and create oases of comfort. Unfolding like a musical sonata, visual images of Lucy in sonorous repose introduce the theme of rest. Please leave your shoes at the threshold as you enter, symbolically shedding conventional notions of social communication. Once inside, we shall not speak in words, but the tranquility is neither silent nor empty, because our senses will lead the way into a different social ecosystem of softly undulating rhythms, patterns, sounds, movements, gestures, textures, smells, tastes and visual conversations. This is our refuge, an alternative empathic resonance, a nonverbal sensory equilibrium – and Lucy and I would like to share our clement space with you.

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Limited edition photograph posters available for order. Professionally printed on fome-cor or gatorboard. For information on size, print and price details, please contact Dawn-joy at scheherazadessea@gmail.com Continue reading

Scheherazade’s Sea – autistic parallel embodiment and elemental empathy

Paper presented at UNSW Art & Design Postgraduate Conference, 17-19 June 2015.

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My Ph.D dissertation, tentatively entitled, Scheherazade’s Sea – autistic parallel embodiment and elemental empathy, is part of a protracted journey in search for Being: a detailed study of Self and Other, and examination of multidimensional interstices of dynamic, interactive reciprocities.

This research and practice rests upon three fundamental concepts:

  1. Parallel Embodiment,
  2. Endeavour of Empathy, and
  3. Space of Mind, from which emanates Elemental Empathy.

The theoretical foundation for this work is constructed from documented studies in neuroscience, anthropology, the arts and humanities, and personal anecdotal evidence from autistic individuals. At the same time, my artistic practice acts as concretising agency by creating experimental ‘sharable’ spaces that serve not merely to display autism but to invite dynamic, personified communion; connecting individuals across neuro-functional divides. Continue reading

Art in a Hidden World – creative process and invisible anomaly

Paper presented in The Arts in Society 2012 conference

Published by The International Journal of the Arts in Society: Annual Review, Volume 7 (2013), p. 29-39; and in the process of publication in The International Journal of Arts Theory and History, (Common Ground Publishing).

Art in a Hidden World – creative process and invisible anomaly. 

Dawn-joy Leong, 2012. Continue reading