The two life-size tiger sculptures stand in mid stride, looking ready to prowl.

Painted by artists with disabilities from The Art Faculty (TAF), The Animal Project (TAP) and JOURNEY by TOUCH Community Services, they are the result of a partnership between Enabling Village and World Wide Fund for Nature Singapore (WWF-Singapore). Aptly dubbed AR-Mazing Tiger Trail 2022, the initiative aims to save tigers in this Year of the Tiger.

“The Enabling Village is privileged to work with WWF- Singapore as a community and venue partner. The two tiger sculptures have provided the chance for many artists with disabilities to showcase their artistic talents, as well as raise awareness about tiger conservation and the impact of climate change on tigers,” said a spokesperson from the Enabling Village.

The two tigers are on display at the Enabling Village from 26 February to 9 April, joining over 33 life-sized tiger sculptures and more than 20 tiger-inspired art pieces designed and decorated by local as well as international artists that have been placed at landmarks throughout the island.

Art at work  

To prepare to paint their tiger sculpture, the four artists from JOURNEY by TOUCH Community Services watched several videos about tiger conservation. Before long, they had fallen in love with the big cats.

“Conservation was a foreign concept to us. But we have since gained a deeper understanding of it, especially for tigers. We wanted to translate our love for tigers in our painting and spread the love to everyone,” said Wong Jun Quan, 35.

Never having painted on a sculpture before, the artists found themselves in various odd positions as they made sure to cover every part of the life-sized tiger.

Said Say Kim Han, 47: “Some of us had to lie down or squat down to paint the belly of the tiger.”

TOUCH artist crouching down to paint the paw part of the tiger sculpture.

JOURNEY by TOUCH Community Services artists crouching in odd positions to ensure that every last bit of the tiger was painted.

JOURNEY by TOUCH Community Services artist painting on the tiger sculpture

The artists drew inspiration from tigers they had seen in documentaries and at the Singapore Zoo.

JOURNEY by TOUCH Community Services artist posting with their completed Tiger sculpture

The heart on the body of the tiger symbolises a love for tigers. The vivid, dark stripes on a brown body and tail were drawn from the team’s memories of tigers while the colours – blue, yellow and green – were selected because they are some of the team’s favourite shades.

Six artists from The Art Faculty (TAF) and The Animal Project (TAP) painted the other tiger sculpture. Due to safe distancing measures, they worked in two separate groups in two stages and this was no mean feat.

The Art Faculty artists painting the first layer of paint on their tiger sculpture

This is the group of artists from TAF who worked on the first layer of paintwork.

The Animal Project artist sketching a tiger on the sculpture

This sketched tiger by artists from The Animal Project portrays a tiger in its natural habitat that is both fragile and intricate. It serves as a timely reminder that both tigers and their habitats must be protected.

The Art Faculty and The Animal Project's completed tiger sculpture

The tiger is clad bright, vibrant colours with fun shapes to convey the joy of inclusivity in the neurodivergent world.

Victor Ong, Creative Director with Autism Resource Centre (ARC) which oversees TAF and TAP explained: “To collaborate across two teams executing the artwork in two separate stages required detailed planning and communication. Social communication is typically a challenge for persons on the autism spectrum. It helped that they were doing something so enjoyable while learning to socialise.”

Temenggong Artists-In-Residence (Temenggong) was invited to mentor the artists,

Reis Lee, Arts Administrator at Temenggong said: “This is the first time we worked with artists with special needs. The artists were very focused on their work, wanting to paint well.

“We saw each autistic artist had different creative skills and we were challenged to amplify their talents into practical use.

Temenggong Artists-In-Residence guiding the artists to paint their tiger sculptures

Temenggong’s volunteer guiding the artists to realise their artistic vision of the tiger sculptures. Image by Temenggong Artists-In-Residence

“They had their visual interpretation of what a tiger means to them so we guided them without changing much of their concept. We suggested use of colours, graphics or motifs to enhance the painting.

“The completed Tigers are of aesthetic quality and Temenggong is very pleased to take part in this mentorship.”

Come play and learn in Enabling Village during the Tiger Trail

Enabling Village is also organising a series of inclusive activities to engage both young and old, to celebrate conservation during the coming school holidays in March.

For 7 to 12 years old participants and their parent/caregiver

1. Hello, Big Cats! Digital Art Workshop by Artably will teach the design of digital art characters with simple shapes, lines and colours using just PowerPoint.

2. Maker’s Experience: Habitat Edition by Playeum lets its participants learn about wildlife conservation and develop a love for animals, from rainforests to deserts, exploring the different habitats in the world.

For 7 to 18 years old participants and their parent/caregiver

3. Marquage Art Workshop by ArtSE will teach participants to sketch and paint on leather products, creating one-of-a-kind items.

4. If it is healthy eating you like, Juice Wellness Workshop by Juice Stories will teach you all about juicing.

For parents or caregivers

5. Re-imagining the Role of Adults in Play by Playeum is an adults-only workshop designed for parents and caregivers. Through a playful arts practice, learn about open-ended creative play and how it can help nurture essential life skills.