Pupils a dab hand at batik painting

Primary 4 pupils at Bedok Green Primary gave Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) Lawrence Wong a short lesson in batik painting.

The youngsters have been learning the traditional art form as part of their school lessons, under the guidance of local artist and arts educator Ika Zahri.

The school was awarded $8,000 in February, under the Arts and Culture Presentation Grant, for its art programme. Another 35 educational institutions have been selected for the grant since its launch last October.

The National Arts Council initiative gives each school up to $10,000 to fund arts and heritage activities for a year.

Bedok Green Primary's arts coordinator Salinah Misri said the school chose batik painting to complement the National Education syllabus for Primary 4 pupils.

The pupils had visited Kampong Glam earlier in the year to learn about local Malay heritage.

"We want them to have an all-rounded education, so they learn not just through visiting and seeing, but also have hands-on experience in making traditional Malay art," she said.

Mr Wong said art education should start from young, as it is "valuable for children to appreciate and love the arts. Cultivating in them the sense of creativity and imagination... it will be useful as they grow up, even when they are in the workforce".

Pupil Jayden Tan, 10, said: "In the past, I did not know what batik painting was, but now I know it is a Malay art."

The pupils will exhibit their paintings next month at Bedok Community Centre.

Applications for next year's grants, which are supported by the MCCY, Education Ministry, National Heritage Board, and co-funded by the Tote Board, will be held this October.

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