Cancer patients grin and bear it at mall workshop
The artist known as Bigsoil shares the joy of creating his popular teddy bears with a group from a Tuen Mun centre
Pulling thread through pieces of felt as they chatted, each member of a group of cancer patients recently made a white teddy bear - under the watchful eye of the artist who has made the cute creature a star of his comic books.
The event at Tuen Mun Town Plaza was organised by Sino Group's Sino Art initiative for clients of Maggie's Cancer Centre.
"In creating my artwork, I express myself and encourage myself. I subconsciously painted out my emotions and realised my weaknesses. The more I painted, the more I liked myself," Chan said.
The mall was decorated with life-size figurines of his characters - a little boy, his friend the white bear and a little girl. They appeared in several different scenarios, each one representing values that Chan believes in.
In one scene, the girl was sitting in a cage and the boy was rowing a boat over to find her. Chan said this represented the search for different things in life.
Sino invited Chan to decorate the mall and hold workshops there. He also designed pins and camera bags, which are being sold to raise funds for Operation Santa Claus.
Sino Group is one of the major donors to the annual charity drive, jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK. Donations will go to 18 charities including Maggie's Cancer Centre in Tuen Mun.
"Maggie's Cancer Centre has been providing art and music-therapy workshops to incorporate art in people's lives and help them relax. This matches with Sino Art's mission," said Ronnie Chan Yim-ling, manager of Sino Group's leasing department.
One of the workshop participants, May Wong Lin-lee, 56, said it was great to spend an afternoon with friends from the centre doing handicrafts. She planned to give her toy to one of the children in her neighbourhood, as her own children were grown up.
Operation Santa is raising funds for the centre's free music-therapy programme.
"In the programme, I learned to relax my face muscles when I sang. They had become stiff from radiotherapy," Wong said.
She was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer eight years ago. Several months ago, she started going to the centre.
"I tell new patients about the treatment and encourage them that we will win the battle."
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