Autistic child's artistic talent


By Paul Toh
6th Feb 2013

GIFTED: Delwin Cheah Wien Loong, 9, has been drawing since he was 3. His works of art have the renowned Stroke of Genius’s stamp of approval and are on display at the Living Essenze gallery

GEORGE TOWN: THOUGH he was diagnosed as being autistic at the age of 5, Delwin Cheah Wien Loong, had a hidden talent.
Wien Loong, 9, is a talented artist with a collection of more than 50 artworks mostly in black and white.

Wien Loong's works are on display at the Living Essenze gallery (opposite Union Primary School) in Burmah Road.

His father Lawrence Cheah Guan Keong, 38, said he and his wife, Erina Law Mei Sun, also 38, discovered Wien Loong's artistic talent when he was 3 years old.

"Initially, he used my hand to draw but after a while he started to draw on his own," said Guan Keong, a business manager.

"His first drawing was that of a horse grazing on grass and we were delighted to discover that our son had this ability.

"If there is an error in the drawing, he doesn't use an eraser but will either change the subject or throw away the paper and start anew.

"We enrolled him in an art school but due to his inability to communicate with others we had to take him out of his art class and looked for a teacher who could understand his needs better," he said.

Guan Keong surfed the Net and the name of artist/sculptor and president of the Penang Art Society Ch'ng Huck Theng popped up.

"We took our son to Ch'ng's museum and let him explore the building on his own. Delwin drew what he saw and Ch'ng was impressed with the artistic ability of an 8-year-old boy."

A year later arrangements were made to showcase Wien Loong's works and this exhibition, which ends on Feb 28, was the result of it.

Amazingly, this self-inspired boy draws from the heart without any preconceived idea of what will turn out on paper and just like boys his age, he loves to depict animals, jungle scenes, cowboys, cartoon characters and super heroes with themes far beyond his age.

Wien Loong uses Faber-Castell ECCO pigment ink pen as his favourite drawing tool which he alternates with the Staedtler brand.

"I don't consider autism a major handicap which parents should be ashamed of. With this exhibition, I hope to motivate parents to accept their autistic child and help the child to develop and grow up in a normal environment.

"It will bring awareness to the public that an autistic child is not a liability but an asset to society," said Guan Keong.

Wien Loong's talent has been recognised by the internationally renowned organisation Stroke of Genius in New York which has only about 50 savant members worldwide.

In conjunction with the exhibition, a book comprising Wien Loong's drawings is also on sale at the gallery at RM20 each.

Ch'ng said CHT Network, of which he is the president, is sponsoring the exhibition which is part of his Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative.

"I am sponsoring this exhibition as art and culture have always been my passion and it is a small way for me to carry out my CSR work," said Ch'ng, an avid art and antique collector.