Autistic teen displays his ability

GEORGE TOWN: Teenager Yeak Ping Lian has had his paintings exhibited at international art galleries and auctioned off for charity – for as high as RM100,000.

And they are worth every cent. After all, Yeak, 16, is autistic.

Most of his paintings feature architecture such as the Petronas Twin Towers, Christ Church Malacca, Kek Lok Si Temple, Khoo Kongsi, Sydney Opera House and the Darling Harbour.

He also paints sunflowers, dogs, fish, roosters and horses.

One of his earlier paintings, the Ubudiah Mosque I (ink and watercolour on paper), raised RM100,000 in 2004 at a fund-raising auction for the Riding for Disabled Association Malaysia.

Some of Yeak’s works are currently on display at an exhibition at the Golden Sands Resort Cool Lounge in Batu Ferringhi until Wednesday.

The exhibition, organised by the hotel, BMC Travel and The Art Commune, was launched by the Raja Puan Muda of Perlis, Tuanku Hajah Lailatul Shahreen Akashah Khalil yesterday.

Yeak’s mother, Sarah S.H. Lee, said her son had severe fine motor skill problems and was diagnosed with autism when he was four.

She used to train him to trace numbers, alphabets and pictures.

Determined to give her son the best possible life, Lee pored over books on autism and tirelessly attended workshops and resource-sharing sessions with other parents.

When Lee discovered that Yeak could paint when he was eight, she set her sights of making him an artist.

Lee, who has two other children, hired three art tutors to train her youngest child.

by Winnie Yeoh.

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